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It was Blanche who gave me the courage and confidence to do what I did. It is true that I gained the necessity to do something because I watched her going under the control of the Duke of Gano’s cock and, having seen what he could do and was willing to do, I despaired of the whole kingdom coming under his sway.

Until now, although Blanche’s schemes had served her, they also had served the House of Lusane.

I had no idea that I might be trusted and brought into one of Blanche’s schemes as the clever and resourceful Kobus had been. But that she trusted a task as sensitive and significant to me as she did opened my eyes to my own possibilities.

After several months of moving almost in one continuous line between the king’s bed and the duke’s bed, Blanche’s womb had not quickened and there was no sign of a child baking inside her. She knew this couldn’t go on; she had promised a son by summer and it already was early spring. And although she didn’t take the blame on herself, the blame was not what was needed—especially if anyone suggested that it might lie with the king. What was needed was a male child.

She called me forth to her writing desk one sunny morning in early April and smiled at me and said, “Before Christmas time I will give King Claude a son.”

“Oh, my lady,” I muttered, my eyes opening wide, feeling a heavy cloud lifting off us all.

“And you are going to provide the baby,” she went on, looking at me levelly.

I felt a hand squeezing around my heart and my cock and balls shriveling. Was this some kind of joke? She knew what I was. If the king and the randy duke together couldn’t impregnate her, how was she expecting me to do it?

“It was Agnes. My handmaiden, Agnes, who gave me the idea. She was quickened back while we were under Simon Limona’s care. I’m surprised not more of the maidens were.”

“But my lady, I don’t understand. Surely you aren’t suggesting . . . a child of some Limonean soldier?”

“No, no. We have taken care of her inconvenience. But it gave me an idea—and then a plan.”

“A plan, my lady?”

“Yes, a plan. And you are key to the plan. You can be out and about as no one else in my retinue but Kobus can. But Kobus is almost chained to Guy’s bed now.” I could hear the bitterness and female jealousy in her voice over that, even though she had been the one to set the plot in motion that put Kobus there. She continued, however, “He has no ability to do what I need done.”

“And what is that, my queen?”

“I need to have a baby—no two—growing. They need to be of noble Kibrit lineage, of course. That goes without saying. But they need to be an inconvenience to the noble family they are budding inside.”

“I don’t know how I can—”

“Shush. I will tell you how you can. First you will go into the court and listen to the gossip. I know you do that anyway. I’ve seen you. You think you move about invisibly. And you may do so with most at court. But not with me. I know that you know far more than any one person at court does about what is going on inside our little village here. And I know that all gossip at some point passes to you. I am equally sure that it stops with you. And that is why I am giving you this task. This is perhaps the most important task I have given anyone.”

Suddenly I felt important. I almost felt like I was a person.

“I want you to identify two maidens in need of a quiet disappearance of a baby. I know this is usually handled by ending the child’s life before birth or finding a second- or third-ranked family with the need for another set of hands in the field or in service. But I need two on contract. Two because it must be a son, and this strengthens the possibility of that. And then this is what I want to be arranged—that I want you to arrange, and in total secrecy.”

She went on, me attempting hard to tune to her but all aflutter inside because of the euphoria she had infused me with on the mere trust in assigning the task.

But I did well—at least in what Blanche commanded me to do. One of the maidens of a noble family I made secret arrangements with did, indeed, bear a son. The other child was stillborn, which solved the issue of having two sons available. But the family with the new fatherless son was delighted to know that their lineage would be sitting on the throne of Kibrit, even though they presently couldn’t gain from that knowledge and must keep it a secret.

What Blanche did not know, however, was that I took longer than I need have, there being much boredom and therefore much dalliance in the court of Kibrit after the island had been consolidated under one rule. And the reason I took longer was that I went to great pains to assure myself that the chosen baby was not a by-blow of Guy de Gano. That proved to be a much harder undertaking than I had supposed it would be.

As fall moved into winter, Blanche started to show and to glow. She was a magnificent actress. All were duped—well, not all. Three of us beside Blanche and a few select of her kayseri escort handmaidens knew she was not with child and that the deception was being promoted by subtle uses of clothing and padding and cosmetics.

King Claude was no problem. He was told that the queen could not accommodate him during the lying-in time for fear of the safety of the child. He took the news well enough, visibly with relief, actually, concentrating on the excellent news that Blanche at last had conceived. He then gladly contented himself with hunting and warrior training with Rene, Guy, and a group of his younger officers. That Claude found this more stimulating than trying to impregnate his wife did not occur to Claude as a function of his greater interest in the shape of a man’s body than a woman’s—but that would come in time.

Guy was a problem. First, he did not buy the delicacy of the baby-in-the-womb argument for one moment. He had fucked women into their eighth month at least and knew the positions that made that both possible and enjoyable. Well, enjoyable for him, at least, which was all that mattered to him. And, perhaps more important, because he had no paucity of cunts or asses to dip his cock in, he knew his hold over Blanche was sexual—that given too much time off from his cocking, she was likely to separate from him and become the strong political force she had been before he subdued and dominated her.

Although she declared that she was in her fourth month already and therefore would only attend the court occasionally and would withdraw to the mountain castle at St. Jerome for her health and that of her child, Guy rode to her there in the dark of night, stormed into her chamber, swept both her guards and her handmaidens aside, and rode her as hard as he’d ridden his horse to get to her.

Blanche took him lustfully, being a complete slave to his staff and all the more impassioned because he had stormed the castle and breached her defenses to get to her and had taken her hard and rough like a conquest of battle. But when he felt for the mounding he knew should be there at this point—and that rather increased than stemmed his ardor for a woman when he knew he had fucked that child into her womb—he found none. And having found none, he had to be told the truth of it and the reason for it.

Both Kobus and I were in the room, standing invisible to the couple in the bed, of course. So, of men knowing the truth of it, there was Kobus and me . . . and Guy.

I knew that Guy would use the knowledge and would do so in ways that would split the tranquillity of Kibrit asunder.

Blanche had entrusted me to see to the creation of a king. Even though she was so besotted with Guy that I could not discuss the matter with her, I knew that she could trust me to ensure the rule of that king. I knew that once she was freed of the domination of Guy’s cock, she would thank me for what I then did—for the good of the kingdom.

* * * *

“Should there not be a great ball at court to celebrate the coming of this child, my queen?”

“What?” she responded to me as we sat in the belvedere of St. Jerome and I peeled a pomegranate for her. “A ball?”

“Yes, I’m sure the king would have thought of it if he was not occupied with the sighting of unknown war ships off Papheas. But there is no reason why you could not command it?”

“And for what purpose?”

“Is not the coming of an heir purpose enough—and the court seeing you dressed and showing for the part?”

“Yes, yes, perhaps it is,” she answered.

And thus began the unfolding of my second-to-most bold plot.

Fortuitously, Kobus, as understeward and confidant to the queen, was the keeper of her potions—and everyone at court knew that, because that was the natural function of an understeward. And equally fortuitously I was able to gain access to these potions without the knowledge of either Kobus or the queen and, in those moments of being just another salamander on the wall, I had followed their making of potions and learned what each one of them was for.

This knowledge—all of it—was important to me because it was not just Guy, Duke of Gano, I was targeting, for the good of the kingdom, but it was also Kobus, for my own purposes. He had murdered the man I loved, Guido, even while he was working his magic inside me. This had continued to fester in my breast. I needed vengeance against Kobus to stem my grief and satiate my, by necessity, barely contained anger.

I started with my plan in the queen’s antechamber, among her handmaidens. I separately went to the most empty-headed and loose tongued of them and casually slipped into otherwise innocuous conversations the question of whether the queen’s relationship with the duke could possibly be a source of jealousy for Kobus, who the queen herself had placed in the duke’s bedchamber.

And then I sat back and waited. Six days before the great celebration banquet of the queen’s pregnancy, I began to hear the rumors kayseri escort bayan come back at me—deepened and coarsened—in the gossip chain. I was very, very pleased with myself.

At the same time, I started working on Kobus, telling him that I had seen Rene, now free of Kobus’s ministration, fucking the king and connecting it with the king’s announcement raising Rene to the status of duke over the former city state of Limonea and the lands surrounding it in the south of Kibrit. The ascension was no more than his due, of course, but I had seen the effect of this on Guy, Duke of Gano—and now of the former region of Turionia as well. The king had announced both new rankings simultaneously and his actual action was well balanced, of course, but with a little help of the gossip chain, which I supplied, and my more direct talk of a new bedroom arrangement between Rene and the king to Kobus, Guy was quite prepared to see everything as balanced against him, and the portent of serious storm clouds on the horizon.

Kobus had no idea how to help Guy in this matter. By happenstance I did. In this instance, I didn’t even have to mix the poisonous potion. Kobus quite willingly did it with his own hands.

All I had to do was, at the most strategic moment, switch who got the cup of poison at the high table during the great celebration. What was once Rene’s to drink became Guy’s to gag and die from.

In the aftermath, more than one courtier was quite happy to say that they had seen Kobus poison Guy’s cup—and nearly the whole court could put a name to the reason why.

I didn’t mix that potion, but I did mix the one that Kobus took in prison and begged me for because of the gruesomeness of the punishment that had been ascribed for the crime of killing a duke.

* * * *

Although I could have left it at that, I was heady from my new-found power over the world of the nobility, and I could not get out of my mind the tragedy of the king and Rene so obviously loving and wanting each other and neither being about to step over the boundary of duty and propriety—especially when all of those around them at court, including the queen, showed no knowledge whatsoever of the existence of such a boundary. I wasn’t the only one to have observed the king and Rene pining ineffectually for each other, and increasingly I heard the whispers of folks both noting the brazenness of the foreign queen Blanche and hinting that they wished that the king and Rene just got on with it. Blanche was not loved at court. And now that she was fulfilling her duty to provide a son, those at court were more dismissive of her needs and increasingly concerned for the happiness of their king. Those of Kibrit truly were on the margin of civilization. To them, a hole was a hole, and satisfaction, no matter how derived, was the goal.

Since I had saved his life—and since he had a body that made me want to withdraw into a corner and pleasure myself—I started to serve Rene as often as I could. I found myself in his presence after a hard hour or two of practice on the sword field with the king and the other young king’s men—which, in all honesty, I enjoyed watching anyway, because, when they were working with wooden swords, they practiced in just breechcloths and the movement of their lithe, well-muscled bodies was very pleasing to me. It was less nerve-racking for me to watch the practices now than before, when Guy also was on the practice field and exuded power and sensuality and foreboding.

The men engaged in bouts of wrestling too in these practice sessions to keep their reflexes quick and their bodies supple for close-in combat. It had been when I watched the king wrestling with either Guy or Rene that I realized that he was overripe for the plucking by either one and that it would only be a matter of time before one or the other speared him with their shaft, with then the inevitable unbalancing of the weight of influence the two very different counselors had on the king. I assessed the king as a true romantic, who would be constant to one lover and could as easily be dominated by that lover as complemented. As strong a field commander and temporal king as he was, I could see that, as with me, the king wanted to be commanded and dominated in bed.

Guy was definitely the dominator. He was aggressive and powerful, and the atmosphere of a wrestling bout between him and the king was one of a battle for control to the death, if necessary. When the king was wrestling with Rene, it was a beautiful dance of strategy and positions and holds in which each remained equal and in balance, with Rene slightly on the ascendance. The latter was more pleasant to watch, but I feared the implications of the former. As far as I could tell, the king had no preference between the two as long as he was being controlled.

In both cases, I watched the king carefully and am surprised that no one else saw what I did—that he was receptive to and aroused by either of his lieutenant’s escort kayseri approaches to the grappling, to the struggle of ascendance. Not only could I see the tenting of his breechcloth and the hooding of his eyes, and the response of his nipples to what could equate to the groping of Guy or the fondling of Rene, but I could also see that he melted to the controlling embrace of either and that, as he slowly—more from mental choice than physical necessity—let himself be controlled and subdued—something he permitted of no others than Guy and Rene. In his wrestling matches with these two, as he slowly let himself be overmatched, I could see him positioning himself for mounting, wanting it at least subconsciously if not in his surface cognizance. And I think that, at those times, if they had not been in the public field, among his soldiers, he himself would have taken the initiative at that point, perhaps not knowing he had but not drawing away once he had.

And knowing both Guy and Rene, I knew that at that point Guy would have fucked the king mercilessly and Rene would have fucked the king lovingly—and that the king would have enjoyed either fully and would have been lost to either then as a lover.

Perhaps I was able to see this as no others could because I was the same with the king in what I wanted and how the effect of being in the presence of Rene—and, yes, Guy too—made me ever ready to position myself for mounting as well.

I am certain Guy never had the king, but I do know of a time that it became a close thing. One afternoon, as the court was in full preparation for the queen’s ball, he had appeared at the queen’s chamber door in high heat. I, unfortunately, had to inform him that the queen was then with a messenger departing in a short time for Holland and that she was writing messages to her family that would have to be sent off almost before she could complete them. Guy was in high flush and his eyes were wild in that way of men with cum built up that must be spilled. I could sense his mind grinding away, and I knew almost as soon as he did that the visage of the queen in his mind was being replaced by that of the king. They had wrestled the previous day, and I saw then that Guy fully understood what I knew—that if they had not been on the public field, that all Guy would have had to do was pull away his breechcloth and thrust inside the king and he would have had the king in thrall to him not only in the bedchamber but in the council chamber as well.

I knew Guy had been ruminating on this and that this is why he was in such high heat. And I knew it was a mistake—although completely unavoidable—to tell him the queen’s jewel box was not presently free and open to him. I knew as surely as he did that the king was now prepared to give him in private what he could not give him in public the previous day—not just a fuck but also the keys to the kingdom.

In terror, I followed along behind him as he wheeled around and made straight for the king’s private chambers. It must have been the gods who had intervened, because, in transit, Guy went by an archway looking out onto the king’s garden. There, posed prettily on a balcony wall, was a young, comely Italian page, stripped down to his breechcloth and arching his back to take in the sun. If I had been a man who cocked men, I couldn’t have resisted the delectable confection myself. In Guy’s explosive state, he couldn’t either. He had the lad leaning precariously out over the abyss, his legs slapped aside, Guy’s hands clutching his waist, and his cock forcing its way home in a trice. The obviously virginal young page yowled shock, violation, and pain, all of which only exploded Guy’s arousal and need for instant gratification. The youth kept on yowling, not knowing that this only egged one such as the cruel duke on, and Guy kept on thrusting with his hips with all his considerable might until all of his pent-up sexual tension and fury and a flood of cum had been spent inside a moaning page on a balcony in the king’s garden.

I tended to the babbling heap the page had become when Guy finished with him and strode back toward his own rooms. I was sympathetic to the lad, but I had to bite my lip not to inform him that he very likely had saved an empire.

Four days later the duke was dead. It was obvious that he had to go.

After that, it was only Rene on the practice field who was wrestling with the king and having the melting effect on the king that only I seemed to be able to see. There was still tension now, but it was not one I thought of as a danger to the kingdom; it was one of “when will this stop; when will they ever get on with it?” I thought that Rene was as much the problem as the king, and I resolved, after a practice where I could see both were panting for it and neither making the strategic move, to give Rene the little push he needed. When he came away from practice, I was there to help him bathe and then, after I told him I was trained in massage, I was permitted to become more intimate with his body with my hands.

After weeks of slowly getting more intimate with my hands working the muscles of his body, Rene felt moved and comfortable enough with going to full erection when he was turned on his back. And then, he became comfortable with having me in the chamber alone with him when I massaged him. And having my mouth massaging his cock.

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