At last, the meeting was over, and for once King Dimitri welcomes the respite, for as much as his body begs for rest, his conscience often forced him to work harder than what he should. After nearly finishing to work through the betterment of Fodlán's relations with Almyra along with its current regent, he could say that he was satisfied… for now. This was one of the few times in which he could say that he earned some sleep, which spared him of having to banter with Gustav about what constituted a healthy sleeping cycle.
This had been a peaceful year, as far as he was concerned, and most people seemed to agree that it was a fruit of his efforts.
The most eventful thing that happened since the start of the year was the thwarted attempt to kidnap Byleth, his dear former professor and current leader of the Church of Seiros, which was seemingly a stunt from a small obscure cult. The culprits were swiftly brought to justice, but their motives were never found out. Months have passed since then and these type of cultists were never heard of again; Dimitri stopped inquiring about it since then. His professor was, after all, the most capable leader he's ever known and knew how to take care of themselves. Since that issue was dealt with, he was able to focus on other matters and rest easy.
"It's rare to see you take a sensible time to go to sleep. Please make it more of a habit."
Dedue, his right hand and closest friend had just turned up from finishing his own diplomatic mission at Duscur, followed Dimitri across the halls leading into his quarters, sun setting below the castle's windows and bathing its walls with warmth for the last time in the day. Dedue was smiling softly through his hardened features, and when Dedue smiled, Dimitri felt at ease.
"I can sleep more soundly after knowing I did more than my best. To my people I owe them as much" he said, feeling his chest big with pride.
"Still, you need to mind your own health more often. Nobody wants to see you overwork yourself to an early grave, Dimitri."
"Perhaps. But I don't plan on dying soon, not when there's still so much left to be done" he replied, trying to not dwell in the implication that more than one was talking about such grim prospects. Dedue eyed him with mild apprehension, causing Dimitri to shrug his wide shoulders. "I'll try to not worry you."
"That's what I'm afraid of. Be the King your people need, but also… don't forget to be kind to yourself. Don't wait for me or anyone to feel worried."
His words were sweet and true, but even now, it was a struggle to take them to heart. Before becoming a King, Dimitri sullied his hands with so much unnecessary blood, and even now the voices of the dead would haunt him, not as frequently as before, but they still did. Perhaps they'd never truly leave, but he needed keep on moving in spite of the bad days, because now he knew that he had brighter days every so often.
Tonight, as he headed alone to his chambers, he bore in mind Dedue's words.
The realization of how tired he was didn't hit him until he shed his eyepatch and formal dress and unceremoniously tucked himself in his bedsheets, not even bothering to turn out his chamber's lamp. His bed smelled so nice, herbs he couldn't really name, probably they used a different soap to wash the sheets, so he inhaled deeply before letting the dreams take him away. It was a quiet and perfect night and, for once, he truly wanted nothing more than to sleep.
Little did Dimitri knew that the eyes peering from within the darkness of his closet have waited oh so patiently for him to fall asleep. Little did he knew that they've been inside his castle for months, keeping track of guard's shifts, memorizing every hall, every door and window, that they'd douse his sheets with a potent but harmless sleeping drug to keep him unconscious for as long as they needed.
Dimitri didn't know any of that, for he'd be in deep sleep for at least a whole day.
There was a heavy buzzing around his head before he started to regain consciousness, the first thing that he noticed was that he wasn't in his bedroom, his body still dressed in light clothes lying on top of big cushions too soft for his liking placed on the floor. Second, the place was much darker, just barely illuminated by torches, the air was sickly sweet like drenched in wine. Third, he wasn't alone.
His only eyelid flickered as he began to focus on the face of a woman, a gentle smile and dressed in a flowing white dress with green and gold embroidery with spiraled patterns he couldn't recognize. Dimitri could say that she looked like a pleasant person if it wasn't that his senses were screaming at him about immediate danger, realizing that his arms were tied behind him and… he was surrounded by people dressed in a similar fashion. All of them were looking at him.
"Are you awake now? … Good." The woman's voice was eager but soft, her face was so close to him just made Dimitri want to look away in embarrassment. She reminded him a lot of Lady Rhea, but that gentleness felt more like a flat act rather than something genuine. "Hello, so nice to finally meet you. We were hoping to properly introduce ourselves before we could begin."
He was used to the stares, being a leader that his people looked up to, but there was something so deeply unsettling about the tangible adoration in their silent eyes.
With every ounce in his body, he wanted to get up and walk away, but even now he couldn't muster the strength to force himself to do any of that. He couldn't even wring the power of his Crest to get that boost of strength to break the bondage, both his legs and arms were useless. No doubt that he was heavily drugged before he came to his senses.
The woman seemed to notice the distress in his face, but she only smiled with a knowing look. "Your body is still asleep and you won't be able to move much for now. Don't worry, it's a normal thing to feel confused but I'll be happy to fill you in while you're still adjusting. I am Sister Myriam, and I am the leader of our humble church, the Church of Illythis." Dimitri squinted, feeling as if he's heard that name before. "And through the revelation of our Master, you were chosen, Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd, bearer of the Crest of Blaiddyd, as the Master's new Bride for his next coming to our world."
"W-what are you talking about…?" Dimitri managed to blurt out. He couldn't make sense of those words, her preaching coming off with demented glee.
"Oh, I understand, it must be difficult to process such grand news and in such short notice, but worry not! As the Master's acolytes, it's our task to properly groom and prepare you for when the time comes to consummate your holy union. Any problems that the Bride might face, it's our job to solve them all."
"This has to be some mistake, I'm… did you just call me 'bride'?" That jump in logic was enough of a kick to make his body flinch. His legs were not restrained, so he bent his knee and attempted to balance his weight in order to get up, his legs were as shaky as a newborn fawn. "Release me now, or you'll force me to harm you…" he muttered, finding his voice struggling to sound menacing in any way.
Who was this 'Master' anyway? Perhaps their founder? Some sort of megalomaniacal noble playing to be a god? Whoever it may be, they must be incredibly bold and stupid to kidnap him. Dimitri knew better than to underestimate an enemy he didn't know yet, but he wasn't willing to sit and wait to be rescued by his knights, specially not when this cultist woman alluded to such preposterous plans. He was a King, not a bride.
Even though he stood inches taller than the woman, she didn't seem fazed in any way. In fact, everyone around him was visibly tense except her. She looked pleased.
"Oh dear, the Blaiddyd Crest is really that strong. No wonder why the Master has his eyes on you." she laughed, joining her hands together.
Though Dimitri wanted to push past her and get away, she managed to stop him on his tracks by simply putting her hands on his chest. Was she actually stronger than him or did the drugs make him this weak? He really couldn't tell.
And the way she was touching his chest, the way she cupped his pectorals through his shirt made him immediately uncomfortable and only prompted him to step back and force himself to walk past her as forcefully as possible without regards to the crowd around him. He clearly underestimated his own situation.
Dimitri was circled by the rest of the crowd and he couldn't find an opening to walk past. His panic grew, the lingering presence of his ghosts were urging him to run away, but he could barely walk straight. Dozens of hands held him, and gently pushed him back to the cushions; he grunted and tried to fight them off, but having his arms bound behind him made that practically impossible. He could hear the people, most of them women of all ages, laugh softly at him as he continued to struggle to stand up again.
"It won't do to have you exert yourself unnecessarily. Please lay down and let it us do the rest."
Dimitri was pressed against the cushions and he gnarled angrily, feeling the weight of the crowd trying to keep him still, and he knew they could feel his erratic heartbeat like that of a defenseless prey. He closed his only eye in distress; he hated the feeling of hopelessness slowly taking over, and the fear of the worst-case scenario coming to life… And then he heard something rip.
Upon looking down, he watched how one of the women used a sharp dagger to cut the fabric of his pants' waistband down to where his legs met.
He gasped and his body jumped, causing the dagger's tip to puncture his thigh. The suddenness of his movement surprised the women, but didn't make them let go of him, in fact, they only held him tighter still. Dimitri was breathing heavily, shaking his head as if hoping it'd somehow do anything to stop them. The growing panic greatly outweighed the sensation of pain on his bleeding wound.
"Stop that, you. We're not interested in hurting you, but if you must keep on being stubborn then you'll force us to use more drastic methods", Sister Myriam said, her body leaning down until she was at eye-level with him; her eyes were wide and disturbingly big, as if they wanted to devour him whole. "You're cherished here, Dimitri, the Master cherishes you and we want to treat you right, but you have to do your part too."
"I'll never comply! You and your twisted games have gone too far…!" he hissed.
Dimitri's body started again, but more hands and more people joined to hold him down, taking the dagger to carefully hack the rest of his clothes to strips easy to remove. A violent blush took over his face when his genitals were displayed, feeling all their eyes on him at once. They cut up his shirt next, Dimitri was helpless as their hands touched all over his body and numerous battle scars, the awareness of his own nakedness made his little hairs stand on end as they all drank the view of him. He didn't remember the last time he felt this humiliated.
He attempted again to struggle, but one of the acolytes brought a new rope and they promptly tied his ankles together, clearly knew that they shouldn't have let him wake up with his legs unrestrained. A new weight of despair was taking over him.
Sister Myriam pulled a handkerchief from her dress and pressed it firmly against the wound on his nude thigh to clean up the blood; her hand was so tantalizingly close to his privates that he felt his body shiver in dread.
Eventually she did grope his crotch, and Dimitri nearly jumped if it wasn't for the hands holding him back. The Sister was feeling and tugging at his balls and penis with asexual detachment, as if merely evaluating his body. Nevertheless, it felt so wrong and he couldn't stop heaving.
"Stop, STOP! Don't touch me! Don't touch me anywhere!" his usually rough voice cracked, her fingers now touching beneath his testicles, pressing there experimentally.
She completely ignored his pleas, simply touching wherever she was wanted, probing and groping his privates, his stomach, his chest, not really in a manner that communicated sexual desire. Dimitri couldn't decide if it was more humiliating to have it this way or how he expected... He couldn't even tell if the acolytes were snickering at him or if it was the voices.
"You have a strong form, which is good. That means that we don't have to make much changes… Let's see, your face looks so pretty too…"
Her hand reached out to his face, so his first immediate instinct was to open his mouth and bite down her fingers in defiance. If he had his real strength back, he could've cleanly bitten those fingers off, but in spite of tasting her blood in his teeth, she only seemed mildly upset by this, barely reacting to the attack. The stare she gave back at Dimitri after retreating her hand gave him chills.
"Oh dear, you really leave us no choice then." Sister Myriam tilted her head towards the acolytes in the back of the room as a silent order. Soon one of the men delivered to her what appeared to be some sort of bag, a woman behind her was holding what seemed to be a small copper kettle. In that moment he knew that biting her was a mistake.
"Within time we'll make you understand how blessed you are and you'll be thankful for this chance given to you only, but until then… I ask you to please be patient."
His heart started beating frantically when they held his head still as she put the bag over his head, a tighter fit than it initially appeared. They only rolled down the cloth over his eyes, making his anxiety go through the roof. Next thing he knew was that they forced a thick ball of his own clothes' rags in his mouth, effectively gagging him. Dimitri was breathing hard through his nose, muffling his anguished protests. He hated the dark, hated being restrained and hated being helpless.
"We're going to block all your orifices except for your nose so nothing shall disturb you while you meditate. But before we do, we prepared a little something to help you get there."
Following that, his head was forced to lay sideways and suddenly felt a small hard object inserted into his ear and he gasped through the gag when warm liquid began to pour right into his ear canal, probably the reason why they brought that kettle. With his remaining might Dimitri tried to shake it off, the feeling of that strange liquid overflowing his ear and clogging his eardrums was extremely unpleasant, seeping into his skin too deep, fearing that it'd make him lose his hearing too. They kept Dimitri still until he started to feel it getting further inside him, before he knew it all his body was shivering as if he were cold, but instead he was burning up.
He didn't realize that the acolytes stopped holding him down until he felt a gentle hand tap on his head. He didn't know what they just gave to him, but its effects were almost immediate and it scared him to not know what it actually did. The more he thought about it, the worse his head was pounding and the louder the voices were.
"You will feel tingly for a few hours, but I believe that you'll grow used to it. You might even like it. Now then…" He could feel her words crawling into his head. "… Please behave."
With that, Dimitri felt the earplugs coming inside his ears as the rest of the cloth mask was pulled down, the whole world closing down on him.
He yelled through the gag, but found himself unable to hear nothing more than the echoes in his head and how the liquid was trickling deeper into his brain. He thrashed weakly, but all the hands disappeared, and it was just him and the nothingness. He suddenly couldn't even strain against the bondage, the last words that Sister Myriam said to him still painfully engraved in his mind.
So he behaved.