411: Information

on September 3, 2009 in Book 14

In Which Amaranth Has Got Caron’s Number

I clung to Amaranth’s arm as she pulled me to the edge of the room, where there was a black door shaped like a coffin lid set into the wall. There was a tiny rectangular window framed by black curtains. It was ajar. She poked her head in through it for a few moments, then wriggled her nose a little, biting at her lip thoughtfully. She looked around, then let go of my hand.

“Wait right here by the door,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

She didn’t go far… just up to a big man with the fat-over-muscle look wearing a tight shirt that looked like it was made out of leather chainmail. He was talking with a pair of women who had collars made out of the same stuff, one tall human woman wearing pin-up style breastplate and one dwarven woman who was topless and wearing a segmented leather skirt.

When he saw her approach, he held up a hand to the women even though they hadn’t been saying anything and said to Amaranth, “Can I help you out with something there, ma’am?”

“Yes, excuse me for interrupting,” she said. She was pointing at the room. “I was just wondering if those rooms there are for anybody to use.”

“Yes, ma’am, they surely are,” he said. “Leave the door open if you don’t mind company. Close the curtain if you want privacy. Leave the door open when you’re done.”

“When the door’s closed, is it soundproofed?” she asked.

“When the curtain’s closed, it is,” he said.

“Thank you so very much,” she said.

“You’re sure welcome,” he said. “Would you be interested in hearing a proposal?”

“You know what, you have my enthusiastic consent for everything you want if you find me later, after I’ve had some fun with my toy,” she said. “Would you be interested in hearing a suggestion relating to your partners?”

“Uh, I guess I would,” he said.

“Okay, come here,” Amaranth said, beckoning him closer. He leaned in, and she whispered something in his ear that made him blush, then she turned and came bouncing back over to me. “Get the door for me, baby,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, opening it wider for her.

She slid past me into the room. It was a round space, about as big as two dorm rooms. There was a furniture of a sort… oddly curved black couches and low, contoured platforms that had loops and hooks that I was able to figure out were probably for restraints.

“Now come in and close it behind you,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, obeying.

“And the curtain.”

“Yes, ma’am,” and I did. Alert for it after hearing the description, I felt the silence spell falling into place.

“I’m assuming the reason you were sitting at Mercy’s feat was that you felt you had no choice and not that you were deliberately disregarding my orders in the worst way in order to get closer to her slave girl,” Amaranth said, taking a seat on an upward-pointing crescent. She patted her thighs

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, sitting down on her lap.

“Good,” she purred. “And I gather that she doesn’t know about our payment plan with Caron?”

“No, ma’am,” I said. “I don’t think so.”

“Good,” she said. “We’ll try to keep it that way by only talking about it in here… well, you shouldn’t be talking about anything out there, which should be perfectly safe, but I’d like to be able to talk a little more freely. I don’t want you to forget your respectful address, though. Okay, baby?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Let’s start with you telling me what happened,” she said, and I did, punctuating it with many “ma’ams”.

Facing away from her, I couldn’t see her face, but I could feel her going more and more rigid the longer I talked. I could tell that her ire wasn’t directed at me, but I couldn’t help shrinking down smaller.

“Mercy certainly makes a lot of other people easier to love,” Amaranth said, shaking her head. “Don’t worry, baby… there’s no way I’m going to let… that… happen to you. I think she’s almost irresponsible enough for it to count as evil in its own right, on top of everything else. Not that it matters, but I’m surprised you never mentioned that she was a halfkind after the first time you met her.”

“She’s a halfkind, ma’am?”

“Yes, well, the penis does kind of give it away,” she said.

Penis?” I repeated.

“Oh, baby, let’s not do this again,” she said. “It made such a nice bulge in her… whatever that was that she was wearing. Maybe this isn’t the time or place, baby, but since we are looking ahead to a future together, I want you to work on being more aware of people’s genitals. Breasts are nice, baby, but they’re not the sum total of a person.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“Anyway, I would have been out there a little faster, but I made an inquiry about getting up on stage,” Amaranth said. “If we run into any further trouble, we might remember that Caron swore that if we showed up, she’d see us up on stage. We don’t have that in writing, but it was an oath, and oaths can be verified. Since you signed the contract on the basis of that…” She shrugged. “It’s something to consider as a fallback.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I agreed. “So… um… what’s the story?”

“Well, Caron was straight with us… they do have a stage reserved for guests, and new people do get to the front of the line, just like she said. There are eight people ahead of us, though.”

“How the hell did that happen?” I asked. “I thought the party just started.”

Amaranth cleared her throat.

“How do you suppose that happened, ma’am?” I said.

“Better. The club was open before then, though,” she said. “Some of the people might have been here with members as their guests. Or they might have just rushed to get a slot. Anyway, they have to fix a safety rune that got rubbed out somehow. It shouldn’t take long to fix, but even if it does, the people ahead of us might give up or get cold feet or take an opening on another stage.”

“Which we can’t do, because the deal as written said we’d do it on the guest stage,” I said. “Didn’t Caron say that if she vouched for us, we’d go to the front of the list, ma’am?”

“Yes, I asked about that when I signed up,” she said. “The lady said that Caron had left our names with her, but that all the other people on the list also had member sponsorships.”

“Well, that’s convenient,” I said. “Do you suppose there’s any chance Caron didn’t sabotage the stage herself, ma’am?”

“Baby, I don’t want you jumping to conclusions like that,” Amaranth said. “It’s possible, but it’s also possible that we’ll just have to remind her of her oath I saw her, by the way… though she was a little bit too busy to see me. Her girlfriend is adorable… she’s a tiny little thing in a full-body leather outfit with mouse ears and a tail. I guess I was picturing a dwarf, but I guess she must be a gnome? Though she seems a little… foregroundy… for a gnome, though that just might be the outfit. Anyway, I’d love it if we get a chance to meet her later.”

Caron’s girlfriend?” I said, then added, a little unconvincingly, “Ma’am.”

“Oh… I suppose under the circumstances it’s understandable,” Amaranth said. “Not fair to her… but things aren’t fair for you, either. If you aren’t interested in her friendship, that’s fine, but I remember her speaking up for us in Caron’s shop. Also, I admire the pureness of her submissiveness. She’s not turned on by any of the specific things Caron is… it’s entirely the submerging of her identity that does it for her. It’s what I try for when I’m working, but she makes it look natural. Anyway, baby, unless there’s anything else that needs to be discussed behind closed doors, I think we should get back out there… we wouldn’t want to lose our place if things go faster than expected.”

“No, ma’am,” I said, shaking my head. “There isn’t anything else I can think of.”

“Okay, then,” she said. She tilted forward and gave me a little push to slide me off her lap, giving me a pat on the butt when my feet hit the floor. “Let’s head on out.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

She stopped right before she got to the door. I thought she was going to ask me to open it for her, but instead she turned to me, looking thoughtful.

“What is it, ma’am?” I asked.

“Do you think it would help you focus more if you fed before we went on stage, or would that just make things worse?” Amaranth asked.

“Fed, ma’am?” I repeated. I didn’t know what exactly she had in mind, but after the interview with Mercy, I wasn’t all that keen on anything involving consumption.

“Yes,” she said. “While I was in the office, I took a shot in the dark and asked if they served blood. The, um, gentleman who was assisting me told me that on a busy night like this, you can sometimes find someone who will consent to bloodplay… that seemed like a little risky to be experimenting with right now… and that they also have multiple varieties of blood on tap in the bar, for the members who are PNLWV.”

“P-N what?”

“You know, people not living with vampirism,” she said.

Vampires?” I said… perhaps just a little bit too loudly for my role.

Amaranth’s hand shot out. She grabbed the key-shaped piercing going through my right nipple and wrenched it hard… I’d swear she twisted it all the way around and then some.

“We are guests here,” she said sternly, still twisting my nipple . “If you can’t be respectful of others, we will be thrown out, and you know what that means. Do you understand?”

I couldn’t quite manage a “yes, ma’am”, but I sort of modulated my screaming a little in a way that I hoped indicated the general idea. She relented a little.

“What was that?”

“Yes… ma’am,” I gasped, and she released me. “Fuck!” I yelled. “Oh, fuck, that hurt!”

“I’ll do worse to you if you say something like that out there,” she said. “Quickly and without hesitation, so anybody who hears it thinks it’s part of a scene, or at least that I have you in hand myself. We aren’t fooling around here, Mack. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, ma’am.” I lowered my head. “I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay, sweetie… anyway, to get back to something a little more productive: feed or no feed?”

“If it’s not terribly fresh, I… I honestly think it would help, ma’am,” I said. “There’s so much blood in the air out there, and Lulu… I don’t think she’s going to help my self-control.”

“I’m proud of the job you’re doing so far,” she said. “What if it’s fresh?”

“I think it’ll just make things worse,” I said. “Mercy said it: it’s not like I can get full. If something triggers my instincts while people are all around, some of them bleeding…”

“Well, we’ll ask, then,” she said. “Maybe they’ll serve it on the rocks for you? That would be cold and a little watered-down, so… do you think that would make a difference?”

“I don’t know, ma’am,” I said.

She frowned.

“This is probably not the time to be experimental,” she said. “You’ll just have to practice your self-control a bit longer. But maybe after the performance, we can borrow the use of some really good restraints and figure a few things out.”

The man with the two subs was still nearby when we came out, and the women clapped for us when we came out.

“Bow, baby,” Amaranth said, and I did. “Let’s go see how things are going with the stage, okay?”

She led me past an outer dais, where one of the men in black wizard robes was grabbing a bound girl’s naked breasts with electrified hands while she writhed to the enthusiastic approval of the crowd and towards what I first took to be a big central column to the big room before realizing I was looking at black drop cloths. They stopped about a yard before the floor, where the actual raised stage was.

Big gothic letters on it read “THE VIRGIN CAGE“.

A pair of men in black jeans and black t-shirts were fussing around it with wands. They seemed to be inspecting a series of runes

“I don’t get it… we’ve re-inscribed it three times now,” he said to the other man. “What do we do now, redo the whole sequence?”

“That would take hours. We’ll just let them know to shift the virgins to the other stages and sort it out tomorrow.”

“Excuse me,” Amaranth said to him. “With so many safety runes, is one faulty one really so bad? I mean, we’ve all signed liability waivers. Did this one do something really important?”

“Look, lady… it doesn’t matter if it’s the rune of acne prevention,” the man said. “The Tomb of Horrors follows strict safety rules, and one of them is that nobody uses the equipment if there’s any problem with the safety spells.”

“What if we’re immortal and invuln…”

“If you can’t follow rules, you don’t get to play,” the man said.

“This is just bizarre, though,” the other man said. He looked just past us. “Hey, uh, Lady Caron?”

I turned to see Caron, and was shocked to see her wearing a dress… a dark purple and black tightly-corseted dress with big ruffled sleeves, but a dress nonetheless… and a diamond-encrusted tiara in her short cropped hair.

At her feet was the girl in the mouse costume. Amaranth hadn’t been kidding about “full body”… it looked like one featureless piece of glossy leather. It clung to her torso and her limbs, but the hand and foot parts were formed to look like paws with slightly curving claws of metal protruding from them. The face part had no obvious eyeholes, or even an opening for air. The snout part of it protruded out quite a bit, with an upturned nose at the end.

Amaranth also hadn’t been kidding about her size. She was about gnome-height, or she would have been if she stood upright. It was hard to say for sure, but she might have been about an inch or two shorter than Hazel and Honey. She was also far more lithe than either of them seemed to be, though I supposed it was possible that Honey’s dresses concealed a more slender figure than Hazel had.

“Yes?” Caron said to the worker.

“Were any of your guests playing up here earlier during your private thing before?”

“Oh, um, no,” Caron said. “None of my friends went near it… but they’re all pretty eager for a chance to get up there and show their stuff.”

“Well, we can try to push through…”

“Oh, no, I’m sure they’ll understand,” Caron said. “There are other stages for them.”

“Hello, Lady Caron,” Amaranth said, smiling her biggest smile at her. “Since I know you remember our deal, I’ll ask you if you remember the word you gave us.”

“Oh, of course,” Caron said. “Silly me. Hey, guys… go ahead and keep working okay?” She turned to Amaranth. “There. I can’t really do more than that. It’s a good faith effort.”

“Well, we made a good faith effort, too,” Amaranth said.

“The contract has specified terms written out,” Caron said. “The oath…” She shrugged. “This province has no contest slavery. That’s got to be why Mercy decided to operate here… or else it has no contest slavery because Mercy operates here. Either way, with a valid contract, you couldn’t block possession while you challenged it in court, and by the time you got a hearing, it would be too late. It’s not anything personal. If Mercy wants you badly enough to offer the money she’s offering, you’re going to be meat for somebody’s grill no matter what. If I manage to collect the money, I’m doing right by myself and I’m not doing a thing to you that won’t happen anyway. My hands are clean, and so is my conscience.”

“Doesn’t your honor mean anything to you?” Amaranth asked.

“It means something,” she said. “If I had to put a number to it, it would be less than your girlfriend’s worth. Feel flattered.”

“Maybe you can live with it,” Amaranth said. She pointed at the girl at Caron’s feet. “But can she?”

“The challenge will be good for her,” Caron said. “And so will the money, if she’s honest with herself. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know my Little Mouse, just because you heard her being cranky one time.”

“I wouldn’t dream of presuming… though I’m glad of the chance to actually meet her,” Amaranth said. “She’s just so adorably petite… you could probably pick her up and carry her away in your pocket.”

“Yeah, she is pretty small,” Caron said, softening a bit.

“I mean, she’s just tiny,” Amaranth said. “Especially next to you.”

The tiny girl at her fleet flopped over on her back, wriggling her paws… that is, arms… in the air.

“You, uh… you can rub her belly if you’d like,” Caron said. “Just stay away from the groin.”

“Oh, thank you,” Amaranth said. She got down on her knees and hunkered down low. She stroked the mouse-girl’s chest with the backs of her fingertips, right down her sternum to about where her belly button would be. “This is amazing… how do you bind her breasts so tight?”

“I… uh… hey, stay away from her head, too,” Caron said, kneeling down next to the girl’s head and putting her arm in front of the pointed snout. “My Mouse is a biter, isn’t she? Oh, yes she is.”

The two then engaged in a bit of play that might have been cute, if one of them hadn’t been actively trying to sell me to someone she assumed meant to butcher me. Mouse thrashed around wildly, keeping her mask pressed against Caron’s forearm, who moved along with her, acting like she was trying to wrestle free. After several seconds of that, Caron started punching her on the “nose” with what would have been sickening force if it had been anything more than a hollow cone of leather she was hitting.

Caron was laughing in a way that was way more full of clean, good-natured (if weird) fun than she deserved. I looked at Amaranth, wondering how to react, and was surprised to see her staring at Caron kind of sideways. Had she finally found a hard limit to her tolerance at the abuse of masks, of all things?

Then I looked closer at Caron and saw what she was looking at. Caron’s sleeve had rolled up a bit around her muscular forearm from the vigorous play, exposing a couple of… welts, it looked like. Or maybe kind of oblong puncture marks that had started to heal a bit.

Something seemed oddly familiar about the size and spacing of them. I felt a sudden urge to look down at my leg. My fishnets were intact, of course, but I had the distinct memory of a pair of jeans with punctures in the legs a lot like the ones that Caron had… right where Little Mouse had been play-biting her.

Little Mouse was a goblin?

As soon as the thought entered my head, her profile clicked into shape. She was short and thin for anyone, but she was much more in line with a classical goblin shape than a gnome… and that also explained the “bound breasts” that Caron had seemed eager to distract Amaranth from.

From the way Amaranth’s expression changed when I looked back at her face, it seemed like she’d worked it out, too… and maybe something else. She had a downright canny look in her eyes. Caron was rubbing Mouse on the shiny top of the headpiece. Amaranth cleared her throat, and Caron looked up at her, the goofy grin on her face turning to puzzlement when she saw Amaranth’s face.

Then she saw where Amaranth was looking and turned white. She pulled her sleeve down, but the look on her face told me she knew the game was up.

Whatever the hell the game was… maybe a lot of people would be embarrassed to date a goblin, but Caron was a queer dwarf in an S&M club. She didn’t seem to be old enough to remember the wars where kobolds had conscripted goblins to fight against their ancient enemies. With a Kharoline human name, she couldn’t be any kind of dwarven traditionalist, anyway. There was no reason for her to care whether the nymph dating the half-demon knew that her girlfriend was…

Kobolds. Dwarves’ ancient enemies.

Kobolds tended towards a slightly leaner build than goblins, anyway…

“Lady Caron,” Amaranth said in the most level and pleasant tone I’d ever heard her muster… and that was pretty fucking pleasant, “we’ll be ready to go on stage in five minutes. Could you see that it’s ready for us by then? And there were some others who were signed up in advance of us. If any of them happen to be friends of yours, maybe you could convince them to wait a little longer or use a different stage, like you mentioned earlier.”

“Uh, sure,” Caron said. “Yes.”

“Yes, what?” Amaranth asked, the corners of her lips twitching up. Caron stared at her blankly. “Ma’am,” Amaranth prompted.

“Yes… ma’am,” Caron said.

“Well… get to it, then,” Amaranth said.


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8 Responses to “411: Information”

  1. Ruby says:

    “I’m assuming the reason you were sitting at Mercy’s feat was that you felt you had no choice and not that you were deliberately disregarding my orders in the worst way in order to get closer to her slave girl,” Amaranth said, taking a seat on an upward-pointing crescent. She patted her thighs ‘

    Just wanted to point it ‘feat’ should be ‘feet’ and there is no period to end ‘she patted her thighs’

    Current score: 1
  2. pedestrian says:

    I think Amaranth was in error dominating Caron in front of her submissive. I believe that is a faux pas in BGSM circles.

    But a lucky break for Our Mack.

    Current score: 1
    • MackSffrs says:

      Possibly a faux pas, not so sure with all the power dynamics being thrown around in the room, slavery, golems, half-demons, Mercy. But it is definitely a straight out veiled threat.

      Current score: 3
    • BlackWizard says:

      Nothing like having someone suddenly over a barrel to get them to honor their original contract…

      Current score: 9
    • Moridain says:

      When someone basically outright states they intend to break the spirit of your deal in order to have your girlfriend enslaved by a sadistic woman who intends to rape her into submission and then breed her with a pair of bestial sadistic bastards in order to start a demonic army and challenge the gods themselves…

      Well, Propriety can kind of fuck off.

      Current score: 15
  3. fragzilla says:

    Arkeus: I’m dying to hear you tell us how big bad evil Amaranth fucked up this time.

    Current score: 6
    • bleph says:

      You don’t like or dislike a character just because they have success in one scene of a story (or even consistently). That success (in this case, saving Mack) is by no way guaranteed, and in several ways sabotaged by Amaranth’s behavior.

      I’m not going to say her success here is a Deus Ex Machina, because it fits in well – it’s a good demonstration of what she can achieve when in circumstances that fit her talents – but it doesn’t significantly change the way she’s characterized.

      Current score: 1
  4. Lara says:

    “Maybe this isn’t the time or place, baby, but since we are looking ahead to a future together, I want you to work on being more aware of people’s genitals. Breasts are nice, baby, but they’re not the sum total of a person.”
    This annoyed me… Other people’s genitals are none of your business.

    Current score: 1