He gasped when he saw me. I’m not sure what he expected. Could he see that my wrists and ankles were bound to the chair? Maybe it was that I wore nothing but a transparent veil which hung to the floor. Powder blue was never my color. I’ve always hated pastels. My mother, Tula Plantagenus, told me that even as an infant, I refused to wear pink.
Mother had suffered a similar fate under not-so-different circumstances. She had served as the equivalent of a high-class escort (the highest class) used by the government to control people of influence. By “government” I meant my father. I was a wedding-night accident; they probably never slept together again. Instead, she slept with whomever she was told. There were always cameras filming every minute detail, to be later used to blackmail said politician or influential businessman.
It was one of those politicians who eventually took her life, but it took more than the scandal to topple my father’s corrupt government. When the recordings were released, he feigned outrage, labeling my mother a whore, having her body publicly burnt and scattering her ashes in a cesspit. I was seven at the time.
Now it was my turn.
Too busy with the running of the Presidio, he had sent me away to be brought up by his brother’s family. Uncle Oswald was a kind man, but completely dominated by his brutish wife Lena, who beat and tortured me at will and for no reason other than my lineage. My mother had been of the defunct royal line. She would have been Queen had the Presidio not forced her father to abdicate. My father, Mars Jensle, was second in command to Loll Tutemand and took my mother as spoils, raping her ill-advisedly on their wedding night. Before I was even born, Tutemand had died under suspicious circumstances, and father had taken control of the government.
My visitor surveyed me with both fear and desire. He had no doubt that his moves were being recorded. I tried to smile, but I couldn’t. He was as much a pawn as I was.
“Remove your clothes,” I said, using my royal voice. Yes, if it had not been for the Presidio, and subsequently the Federation, I would now be Queen, worshiped by my people – a people that once would have done anything just to please me. I would have been more than a Queen, I was their Goddess.
This man was of the old school and obeyed immediately. If I had told him to kill himself for me, he would have. Unfortunately, my handlers would probably have killed me before he had the chance. However, to some my word was an edict from the heavens. Left alone, the man would eventually commit suicide. Hence, I would never ask of him such a deed.
My father had been overthrown by a coup d’etat and replaced by a “federal democracy.” That was just show, and the few men that had usurped the power held the same kind of control over the legislature that my father did and in much the same way: through blackmail and threats. People “disappeared” on a regular basis. The man removing his clothes before me would suffer the same fate if he did not rape me. As a deposed royal, I was a danger to the Federation. They had to destroy my character.
After escaping from Aunt Lena when I was 13, I went into hiding, living on the street as a pauper. As far as I knew, my father approved, making only a farcical attempt to find me. As a street urchin, I had to steal and do anything to earn my crust of bread, including prostitution. My father’s regime had cleared the population of sexually-transmitted diseases, so I remained clean. How did he do it? Testing became mandatory. Anyone with treatable conditions were treated and sent to a colony in the islands of the Bardor Ocean for the rest of their lives. If it was untreatable, then they were sent to Melardo, a prison island, nearly 1000 KM from the nearest continent of Toohland. Most soon died there.
The Presidio maintained a no-tolerance policy, both in healthcare and crime. Those with communicable diseases were either quarantined in the islands or executed and their bodies cremated.
The man, now naked, guarding his manhood with his hands, stood trembling before me, unable to avert his eyes from the royal tattoo that emblazoned my chest, just above the center-point between my breasts. 26 years ago, men would have given up all their worldly possessions just to touch that tattoo. Without the agreement of father, my mother had ordered the tattoo drawn while I was a week old, a tiny red rose, that has been expanded every year of my life, even while I lived on the streets. Servants of the Monarchy spied on me. They knew where to find me, and on my birthday one would appear and add a tiny petal, leaf, or thorn to my rose, the stem of which had been extended to just below my breasts.
“What is your name?” I asked, wanting to know who was about to have his way with me. I always asked, and I remembered every single name, even from the time I lived on the streets. He would be my 101st.
“Olander Hefrig, at your service,” he answered, fighting a stutter.
I knew that name. “What is your title?”
“Chancellor of Harden University.”
That was where the intelligentsia had studied for centuries. I would have gone there had I not been in hiding. Instead, I went to Baltair College, a small progressive college that was run by royal servants. I never had to pay for my education, nor for my room and board. I saw it at first as a way to get off the streets, until they realized that I was brilliant. My Science-quotient was a 97, unheard-of at that level, the average top degree student graduating with a 71. My language mark was 93, and math 96. History had been removed from the curriculum in an attempt to dilute the tradition of the Monarchy.
“Impressive. I salute you, scholar.” Hefrig would have been aware of my abilities.
“My privilege, my …”
Queen. If he would have said it, he would have been executed on the spot. He wouldn’t have been the first. Hefrig was young for his position. His predecessor had disappeared. I’d learned of it at Baltair. He had a familiar air about him, as if I had met him before. His golden brown eyes held serious learning behind them. He was no figurehead; he’d earned his position.
“What brings you to see me today?” I asked, knowing that he’d been given no choice. In addition to having a brain in my head, I also had the beautiful body of my lineage. I would have been “culled” at the age of four if I hadn’t been considered suitable to the royal line. I wondered if my father might have permitted it, thankful for an excuse to get rid of me. No man could resist my charms if I chose to exert them. Of course, there is nothing more seductive than the power of royalty.
“I have been sent here on an urgent matter that concerns you,” he answered. That was the standard euphemism they used when they were unable to say that they were about to seduce or rape me.
“Come forward and tell me your desires, Olander,” I replied. That would have sent his heart racing. I admired him. He was about forty and looked distinguished with his hair graying at the temples. I also knew that he had been a professor of history. I vowed to make this as enjoyable an experience for him as I could.
Hefrig took two steps forward and knelt on one knee. That was punishable by deportation or at worst, death for treason. He averted his gaze, preferring to look at my toes, which protruded from under the veil. None of the handlers came to kill him. I would reward him as well as I could.
“Look at me, Olander,” I said, knowing that would serve two purposes. Calling him by his first name twice raised his stature to a member of my circle. That was the ultimate aphrodisiac, and combined with being encouraged to look at me up close had the desired effect.
“Don’t Olander!” I stopped him. That would have sealed his death. “Would you be so kind as to remove my veil?”
Bound to the chair, I was unable to hide myself from him. He couldn’t control his desires, yet I had not given him permission to touch me. He couldn’t mask his disgust, seeing the ties that bound me.
“You may touch it, if you wish,” I said.
He knew immediately what I was referring to, as he reached forward and gently traced the lines of my tattoo.
“Men have killed for that,” I whispered so that only he could hear it.
He gulped. I fear that was the point he knew what I begged of him.
“I would like to hear you say my name.”
“Sheera Marianna Ephrasus,” he paused, “Plantagenus, my …”
“Don’t!” During the Monarchy, he would have had to follow with “my Queen and Goddess.” Again, I had saved his life.
“Chancellor Olander Hefrig,” I said, “I permit you to do what you have come to do, my love.”
He wouldn’t have been the first of my “clients” that I’d confessed love to, but he was the first who had deserved it. His first touches were tentative, my arms, my breasts, my thighs, always returning to the tattoo.
“You may kiss me, Olander.” Others had, but I knew he required permission.
He started with my shoulders, my neck, my lips, perhaps surprised when I responded, caressing his tongue with mine. When he kissed my thighs, I nearly broke my chair, I desired him so. Parting my knees for him, I entreated him to take me. He had to take me all the way for the cameras. Sitting on my lap, he kissed my tattoo again. It tingled strangely as it never had before.
“Let your Queen be your vessel,” I whispered into his ear as he positioned himself awkwardly between my bound legs. I couldn’t have been more ready for him. Soon he was inside me – the chair groaned from the weight of his thrusts. “Love me!” I begged as he throbbed, losing himself in me. He tensed and snapped, along with the legs of the chair, falling on top of me. I let go, too, so wanting to hold him close, but with my wrists still bound, I had to compensate by frantically kissing him as if there were no tomorrow.
As if he had unlocked my memory, I remembered that Hartig Hefrig had been my grandfather’s valet. I’d seen Olander as a teenager, but most of all I knew that his loyalty was unswerving. “The Gods will reward you a thousand times what I have given you,” I whispered. “Free me, my love.”
With his arm already wrapped around my neck, it was simple. I felt his fingers touch my tattoo ecstatically as he kissed me a final time while caressing my chin. He was my savior, and he would soon follow me.
“Do it!” I pleaded.
I heard only the first of the clicks of my snapping neck. My ritual humiliation was over.