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The Twins of Gascaign

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In a delicious haze of warmth, I stretched languidly alongside my sister. Her skin still shone with sweat, and I trailed a hand down her side to make her shiver.

Adeleine rolled to face me in our father's bed, smiling. Her dazed eyes and flushed cheeks showed that she felt just as I did - well-used, muscles spent, a deep comfortable fatigue spreading through us both in the warmth of the autumn afternoon. I slid a hand into my sister's hair and drew her face close for a kiss.

"How I shall miss this, when Father returns," I said, an edge of regret creeping up against the bliss I felt.

"Oh, Araun, don't make me think of it," Adeleine said. "We still have a week. I shall pretend we have forever."

But we did not have forever. Our father had spent a month away from his home and estate, dealing with affairs of taxes and titles and deeds in the capital; and in just seven days, he would return. Next year, he would surely make me go with him. I'd only escaped it this year because, Father having taken his men-at-arms for safety on the road, we had no other fighting men to remain in the house.

And it so happened that this autumn, Adeleine and I - twin siblings, newly of age, alone together and starved of company - had been unable to resist each other. It was wrong, and I knew it; the gods would surely punish us for what we did together. But part of me resented that. Why had the gods seen fit to tempt us like this? Adeleine was so very lovely; dark-skinned and black-haired, with green-flecked brown eyes that shone like jewels. Living out in the countryside as we did, and with our father too obscure a nobleman for his children to have many courtly demands, we spent our days much the same as each other - riding, hunting, swimming. Adeleine was lithe, and I was lean. Our skin was smooth and sun-warmed, and our bodies were supple. We were at the height of health and vitality, eager for life and love, but alone. Was it any wonder we fell into each other’s arms at the first opportunity?

I chose a curl of Adeleine's dark hair and gently twirled it around a finger. "To think of what we've had, all along," I said wistfully. "We could have been sneaking off into the forest whenever we pleased. What fools we've been! But now we're of age, and sure to be married off - sooner, rather than later, if I know our father. I'll be wedded to the daughter of one of his rich friends, and you'll be given to the lord of some distant province. You'll be sent off to Davrein, or Perinoux, or Alairouz. I shall never look upon you like this again."

She pressed a finger to my lips. ”Araun, I will always be your sister. Marriage cannot change that, no matter how far away it takes us. I would not give up what we've found this past month - not for Father, and not for the handsomest lord in all the realms."

I frowned. "You'd have me still? When we're each bound to another?" I trailed a hand down between her breasts to caress her bare belly. Before Father had left for the capital, I'd not seen her naked since we were children, bathed together by our governess. Adeleine was a woman now, with lush curves that made one think of ripe, sweet fruit. "I want no woman but you," I told her, truthfully. After having her in my arms - over me, under me, her scent filling my nose and mouth, I could not imagine desiring any other woman. "But when I am wed, I don't think I could betray my wife, whoever she is. It wouldn't be fair to her."

"Dear Araun," she said. "I believe you must have inherited our mother's sense of what is just and right." She stroked my cheek, tracing her thumb across my lips. "Aunt Beatris always says you are just like she was; honourable to a fault."

"How can honour be a fault?" I said, frowning.

Adeleine laughed. "Your brow furrows like that of a scholar at his books," she said. "But Araun, I must confess this: I don't fear marriage. You needn't fear it for me."

"I can't help but fear for you," I said. "We know nothing of who Father wants to give you to. What if he's old? Or worse, if he beats you?"

She leaned up on an elbow, her eyes sparking at me. "There are plenty of handsome older men at court," she said. "And if my husband were to take a switch to my bottom?" She rolled to her belly, wriggling in the satin sheets, her bare round backside shining in the slanting sunlight from the high windows in our father's bedchamber. "Araun, I believe I wouldn't mind a bit," she said, and shivered as though she found the thought delicious. "Perhaps I'd even disobey him on purpose, if a switching were to come of it! For a man to take a firm hand with his wife is no great horror. At least, not in my opinion."

She grinned at me, a cheek dimpling, eyes glittering. I flushed, feeling both scandalized and a little guilty. Over the past weeks, I had found to my surprise that my sweet-faced Adeleine had a taste for a sort of rough handling that I simply could not summon from within myself, even when she had asked me.

"You know I could never lay a hand on a woman," I said. "Even in play. But that is not what I meant. A switching to rouse the fires of the marriage bed is one thing; many a man would give an eye to have a wife who loved a switching, and I pray that you will be given to such a man, if that is what you want. But a real beating, from a man who seeks to abuse you instead of to pleasure you - that is something else entirely."

"You know Father would never give me to a cruel man," she said, a hand in my hair. "And Araun, if my husband truly ill-treats me I shall simply tell you, and you will duel him. You're tall, and strong.” She traced the muscle of my sword arm, desire kindling in her eyes. “Everyone knows how skilled a swordsman you've become. I know you would prevail." She ran her hands over my chest, relishing the strength she felt there, then laid her head against my shoulder. A sudden protective flare rose in me, and I kissed her hair, taking her in my arms.

"I'm glad you think so highly of me," I said. "I'll always strive to protect you, Adeleine, but this world can be harsh. I hope I am worthy of your trust."

"I know you are," she said. "Kiss me again, and let us enjoy what time we have. We will leave what cannot be solved until we must confront it."

I was glad to oblige her. I kissed her lips until they were flushed, drawing soft sounds of pleasure from her throat. Then, gently, I pressed her shoulders back into our father's enormous feather bed, and let my kisses drift down her throat, across her collarbone, to the tip of one firm breast. There I took the dark pink nipple between my lips and sucked until it swelled and hardened, and Adeleine gasped and squirmed in my hands.

I smiled. "Sweet sister," I said, rolling the other nipple between thumb and forefinger to rouse it in harmony with its pair. "You wanted me to kiss you; but you never said where."

My mouth found her navel, and my tongue swept it. She cried out in anticipation, and arched to me, yearning for more. I held her hips in my hands, in preparation for my next act - for I knew a strong grip would be required.

The soft skin of her inner thighs rested against my cheeks as I touched my tongue-tip, ever so carefully, to the hood that sheltered her pleasure-pearl. She had shown this pearl to me, as we discovered each other, these past weeks. How wonderful it was, I thought, that the gods had seen fit to bestow women with such a thing! I traced my tongue around it, without touching it, knowing how sensitive the little pearl could be. To touch it directly seemed to cause in Adeleine a sensation akin to pain. One must be gradual, slow, delicate. Even so, Adeleine cried out as my tongue nudged against it, her hips moving in my hands, her belly quivering.

The lips of her quim were swollen and slick. As I traced them with my tongue I tasted the salt of her arousal, and my own spendings from the time before. The taste of sex fired my blood, and I felt my cock rising again, a bead of my own arousal at its swelling head.

"Araun,” she cried, as I pressed my mouth to her quim in a full, slow kiss. "Oh, Araun!" Her thighs parted, her hips twisted in my grasp as her body made a slow, almost agonized writhe. "Take me," she gasped. "Have me."

"In good time," I murmured, passing a soothing hand across her belly. "Keep still, if you want it. Can you do that?"

"Yes! Oh, yes, I promise I can.“

I smiled, doubting that, but let go of her hips anyway. I parted the folds of her quim with my fingers, exposing her pleasure-pearl to the cooling afternoon air without touching it. I slipped two fingers inside her. She was so slick with desire and seed that they slid in effortlessly. She squealed, and I laughed, admonishing her.

"Shh! Father may be away, but the servants have ears."

"Oh, Hadr take the servants," she swore. "They all know anyway and I don't care." She urged me with her thighs, struggling not to move her body. "Araun, you must finish me.”

"Must I, indeed," I said, and making slow strokes with my fingers, I flicked her pearl with my tongue. This time she screamed, arching her back and thoroughly breaking her promise to be still. If I had not already had her twice that day, she would surely have climaxed then and there. "I will finish you," I promised her. "But on my own time."

"You torture me, Araun.”

I grinned, kneeling up and pressing her thighs apart with firm hands. The head of my cock dripped with sex. It was torment to draw it out like this, for me as well as for Adeleine, but the results were oh, so worth it. I touched my cock to her opening, using the head to gather up a smear of slickness, then wiped it on her pearl, circling slowly. The sounds that were torn from her throat at this were like nothing else in the mortal world.

But before I could enter her, quite a different noise came from the doorway, and one far less pleasing to my ears: The creak of door hinges, and the clearing of a throat.

***

"Well, this is a sight to see." The intruder was dark-eyed and slender, and he smirked from beneath the curled brim of a plumed felt hat. Arms folded, he leaned in the doorframe with a rakish slouch.

I jumped from the bed, naked, my cock still wet, as Adeleine gasped in fright and knelt up. Of course I had no weapon, but I was ready to fight.

The roguish intruder stood upright, his riding boots now sounding ridiculously loud in the quiet of my father's chambers. How could I not have heard him enter? Seeing my clenched fists, the rogue grinned and rested a hand on the hilt of the rapier at his side.

"I don't know who you are, sir," I said, "But I will give you your first and last chance to get out of my home, unless you want to hang." My voice was steady, but my heart was thumping wildly in my chest.

"Now, now. No-one is going to hang," said the rogue, his voice soft, almost kindly. He strode further into the room, hand still on the hilt of his rapier, and took an apple from a bowl on the dressing table. After tossing the apple in his hand and catching it, he took a thoughtful bite as he looked from me to Adeleine.

He was a young man, perhaps twenty-seven, with dark trimmed hair on his face and brown curls beneath his cavalier hat. A highwayman, I thought; the sort of man that my father had taken his men-at-arms to deal with. Like most highwaymen, his clothes were an odd mix - a doublet of fine, dark velvet, an armoured jerkin over the top, and snug breeches of tough leather for riding. His eyes were outlined in charcoal like a sailor’s, as a shield against the glare of the sun. The doublet and the laces of his white linen shirt were both open at the collar, showing a hint of the dark hair on his chest. With a silver hoop through one earlobe and his sword at his hip, he cut a dashing figure. His smile, shadowed by the brim of his hat, made his eyes glimmer. Despite myself, I had to admit that he made my pulse throb with more than fear.

"You may not know who I am," said the rogue, "but I know you. The young master and demoiselle of Gascaign. Does your lord father know what his beloved children are playing at, in his absence?"

"What do you want?" Adeleine cried behind me. "Leave us in peace - our father is not rich, and has no quarrel with you, whoever you are. Please, do not harm us. Take whatever you find here of value, and be on your way.”

“I intend to," said the rogue, grinning. He took another bite of the apple as his eyes raked over my sister. I stepped between him and Adeleine, and his gaze fell on me instead. He raised his eyebrows, as though to show me that he did not mind at which of us he stared. I felt the heat from his shadowed eyes, and unbidden, my cock stirred anew.

From the hallway, I heard footsteps, and prayed to all the gods that our servants had come with weapons. Then I heard coarse laughter, and two more strangers joined the rogue in my father's chambers, crowing with delight when they saw Adeleine.

At that moment, I knew that I was going to die. "Give me a weapon," I said to the dark-eyed rogue, my voice low. "If I'm to die fighting for my sister's honour - let it be with a blade in my hand. At least give me that."

The rogue’s dark brows raised, and he smiled. "I like him," he said to the closest of his men; a tall man with cropped, steel-flecked black hair and a rough, stubbled face. "What do you say, Ferrand? Will you give me your rapier, so that I might indulge the young master’s courage?”

The older man shrugged, drawing his weapon, but Adeleine clutched for my wrist.

"Araun, no! You mustn't fight them," she begged me. "Do what you will," she said to the rogue. Ferrand's grey eyes widened, and he forgot all about giving his rapier to his leader. The man who had accompanied Ferrand, a strapping Northman with fair skin and a braided beard, was staring too. I glanced behind me and saw that Adeleine was kneeling on the bed, hands palms-up on her parted thighs to show that she would not fight. Her legs were spread to display her glistening pink quim, the lips of which were still wet and swollen with desire. Unlike mine, her arousal seemed oddly unaffected by the turn of events.

"Have some honour!" I said. I was not sure whether I meant the words for Adeleine, or the rogues who had invaded our home.

"A funny time to speak of honour," said the dark-eyed leader of the brigands, with laughter in his voice. “After what I just watched. Your sister has the measure of it, lad. It won't be so terrible. My men and I will join you in your little game; once you have pleased us, we will take our leave. If we are satisfied, we will forget we ever paid a call on poor Lord Gascaign, and your secret will be safe from your father."

"Araun, please," said Adeleine. “You must see we have no choice. If you fight, they'll kill you and have me anyway. You cannot leave me in this world without you. Please, brother."

I looked at her, imagining her taken by three rough highwaymen while I lay dead or dying, bleeding upon the floor. Her eyes pleaded with me.

“Grant me a duel, then,” I said in desperation to the leader of the three highwaymen. “To first blood. You must swear to leave Adeleine untouched if I win.” I was naked; if the highwayman was more than a passable swordsman, first blood would not be far off for me. But at least it was a chance.

The highwayman’s dark brows raised with intrigue, and he paced a little. “What do you think, boys?” He tossed his half-eaten apple to Ferrand, and held out a hand for his rapier.

“And when he loses?” Ferrand grinned, catching the apple and pressing the finely-wrought hilt of his weapon to his leader’s hand.

“When he loses,” said the highwayman softly, fixing his eyes upon mine, “he will kneel.” He strode towards me until we were but inches apart, and brushed gloved fingers across my cheek. My lips parted of their own accord, and he traced them gently with his thumb. “He will kneel,” he whispered, “and he will watch.” He tilted my chin, and for a moment I was sure he would kiss me. “I will take his sister as she squirms upon her back,” he murmured against my ear. I shivered at the scratch of his trimmed beard and the rumble of his low voice. “She will call my name as I make her come, with my cock deep in her tight little quim; and she will beg for more.”

There was a soft, scandalized gasp from the bed. Adeleine drew up the sheets to cover herself. I could not look at her - that gasp had contained more than a hint of anticipation.

“And then,” said the highwayman, with a glimmer in his eyes, “I will give her to my men.”

Ferrand shrugged. “I like that part,” he said.

Most people say that I am slow to anger, for a nobleman’s son; but all that means is I do not duel other young men at the drop of a hat, losing my temper over every imagined slight. But where my family is concerned, I have as much fire in my belly as anyone else.

I drew back my arm and a loud crack sounded as I struck the highwayman across his handsome face with the back of my hand. His head snapped sideways, his plumed hat fell upon the floor, and he turned back to me laughing. Blood trickled from a split lip, and his dark curls were tousled from the loss of his hat.

“Southerners,” muttered the fair-skinned Northman. He wore only a tunic of boiled leather that left his shoulders and most of his thighs bare. Fair hair curled on his thick, freckled forearms and his strong, lean legs; his braided hair and beard were streaked with red and gold. Adeleine stared at him, as though she had never seen a man so light of skin or hair.

“What’s the matter, Torbjörn?” The highwayman licked his lip, still chuckling. “Don’t you like a good fight?”

The Northman snorted. “A duel is not a good fight,” he said, his voice roughly accented. “In the North, we slay the servants where they stand, we slit Lordling’s pretty throat half an hour ago, and by now we are fucking the girl senseless in a pool of his blood.” He grinned at Adeleine, forming his lips into a kiss. This time, her gasp contained no anticipation, and I could not help but feel vindicated at that. Perhaps now Adeleine could see what kind of men we were dealing with.

The highwayman laughed. “There will be plenty of time for your sort of raiding, my friend,” he said. “Now, give us space.” With that, he brought the hilt of Ferrand’s rapier not an inch from my eyes, and used the shining curve of its hilt to brush the tip of my nose. “Here, Lordling. A weapon, just as you wanted.”

Ferrand backed away, smirking, drawing Torbjörn with him. Together they lounged against the wall of my father’s bedchamber to watch.

I snatched up the offered rapier, anger burning in my chest. My nose still tingled from the touch of the weapon’s hilt, and I fought the urge to rub it. The highwayman backed away from me a few paces, then bowed with a flourish, drew his own rapier, and came on guard.

His guard was relaxed, his posture lazy. His point was too low and his shoulder slack. His off-hand rested carelessly on his hip. I had been taught better than that - naked or no, I knew how to be a gentleman. The three brigands all laughed as I came on guard with perfect posture, but I ignored them.

Ferrand’s rapier was heavier than my own, but it was very fine; probably stolen. I took a step towards the brigand leader and our swords touched, crossing lightly with a soft scrape of steel, and then were still. Our eyes locked; his were full of humour, and lit with the spark of a man who loved to cross blades as much as he loved to plunder and rape.

I do not relish spilling blood; but I, too, feel the thrill in my belly when blades meet. I could almost forget that I was naked. The highwayman tested me, pressing lightly against my sword with his own. It is an almost intimate moment in a duel, when each man seeks, feeling through his blade, for the minute advantage needed to control his opponent’s sword while thrusting his own point home.

Torbjörn yawned. “Fucking rapiers,” he muttered to Ferrand, long fingers on the shaft of the spiked axe in his belt. “Are they going to fight, or stare at each other like lovers?”

“Patience, friend,” Ferrand said with a smile, clapping the Northman on his broad bare shoulder.

I thrust to the highwayman’s chest, knowing he would parry; then, seizing the opening as his sword pushed mine aside, I slipped my point under his blade and aimed it at his throat, continuing the thrust. The duel was to first blood - but that did not prohibit a killing strike, and you can be sure that I would take any chance I had to end that rogue.

With a grin and a quick flick of his arm, the highwayman delivered a beat to my sword that knocked it aside. It was a crude movement, one that my fencing-master would have scorned; but my point was safely off line. I allowed my sword to carry through in the direction he had beaten my blade, whipping around to attack on his other side.

The highwayman parried me with a twist of his wrist, gaining the advantage and lunging. I stepped backwards, flicking the tip of my sword at his arm, and felt my point tear his doublet.

The highwayman grinned with enjoyment, lowering the point of his weapon and striding out of distance with his off-hand on his hip. “Nicely done,” he said, with a little bow. “But no blood.”

“Stop fucking around, Laurent,” Torbjörn cursed. “The sooner you cut the little bastard, the sooner we get our cocks wet,” he said.

Was the highwayman - Laurent - was he toying with me? Torbjörn seemed to think so. Perhaps he could cut me whenever he pleased, and was drawing out the duel for his own amusement.

Although Laurent was out of my reach, that lowered sword-point, that careless saunter, called to me. I lunged for him, cutting towards his ear, only to find my wrist seized by the strong fingers of Laurent’s off-hand. I gave an outraged cry as he whirled me around - no gentleman used his off-hand in a duel, or grappled his opponent like a peasant! - and heard his men laughing at my astonishment. Laurent twisted my wrist - my hand was trapped in the ornate hilt of Ferrand’s weapon - and threw me across the bed. Adeleine cried out in fright, reaching for me.

“Best stay back, lovely,” Laurent told her. He finished disarming me, pulling the rapier from my hand. Then he twisted my arm up my back and knelt upon it, pinning me on the bed. I struggled, useless and beyond humiliated, feeling my shoulder wrench. Laurent dropped his own rapier, drew his dagger, and carefully, almost gently, cut a delicate line through my left brow. Adeleine cried out in horror as warm blood poured into my eye.

I had failed.

***

You must know that I wanted to keep fighting - to die before I would see my sister dishonoured. But I had given my word. I had asked for a duel to first blood, and it had been granted. It pained me more than anything in my life since Mother had died, but I offered no resistance as Laurent pulled me back to my feet and gave me to Ferrand to restrain.

“Araun, your eye!” Adeleine cried. I blinked, testing my vision. The world was shadowed in red.

“Hush, girl,” said Laurent, gently. He took out a kerchief and held it against my brow to stanch the blood while he examined my face. “There; I didn’t touch his eye.” He pressed the kerchief into my hand, and Ferrand let me raise it to my brow. “Hold it there a while, my friend. You’ll have a handsome scar, nothing more.”

"What have you done with our servants?" I said suddenly, feeling like the lowest scum for not thinking sooner of our staff - kitchen maids, stable-boys and hostlers, the steward and the groundskeeper.

"They are little the worse for wear," said the rogue, striding to the bed and taking Adeleine's hand to kiss. "All sound of limb and locked in your cellar. Please us well, little Gascaigns, and they shall stay that way." He stroked Adeleine's cheek, tipped her chin up and brushed a kiss across her lips. She did not resist, her eyes wide.

"But how?" I pressed. It didn't seem possible that our servants would have complied with three highwaymen. They were loyal people, devoted to my father. I'd always imagined that they would fight for our family; as well as they could, at least.

The rogue took Adeleine's hand to help her rise from the bed. "You may call me Laurent," he said with a bow, and draped an arm around her bare shoulders. "Come downstairs to the sitting rooms," he said, "and let me explain."

***

Steel-haired Ferrand and Torbjörn the Northman led me to the stairwell. I was still naked, feeling Ferrand's knife at the base of my spine as I went. Adeleine was shepherded by Laurent himself.

At the foot of the stairs, the mystery of why our servants had been overwhelmed by these brigands was immediately solved.

Three more highwaymen lounged in our sitting rooms, boots resting on armchairs or tables, travelling cloaks draped wherever they had been shed. They had already found a good part of my father's wine stores, and were making merry with it while they lounged about, laughing and talking, sharpening swords and daggers. A great cheer rose from these three men as they saw Adeleine, naked but head held high, gracefully descending the stairs with their leader's gloved hand upon her hipbone. When they saw me, equally naked, blood still trickling into my eye, their cheers turned to laughter. I hung my head, the shame filling me. Surely death would be better than this.

"May I present - Master Araun and Demoiselle Adeleine of Gascaign," said Laurent, as though announcing arrivals at a ball. He pushed me to my knees, then took Adeleine by the arm and led her to each of his five men in turn, in a parody of courtly introductions.

One by one the highwaymen grinned and took their kisses and caresses from Adeleine. Tall, fair-skinned Torbjörn slapped her bottom heartily with a hairy hand. Ferrand pulled her back against his chest and cupped her breasts in gloved hands with a laugh. As he held her like that, a heavyset, thick-bearded man took off one of his gloves, slipped a finger between the lips of Adeleine's quim and made her squeal; then sucked his wet finger with a vulgar grin. Another man - a younger, thinner Northman with eyes and nose identical to Torbjörn's - kissed her lips, thrusting his groin against her belly to show Adeleine how hard he was. The fifth and final man, a narrow-eyed youth with freckles and tousled ginger hair, was lounging in a low chaise when Adeleine was brought to him. Taking her by her hips, he turned her around; then he spread her buttocks with his thumbs, and leaned in to sweep his tongue around the tight, puckered hole of her arse, forcing a cry and a shudder from my sister. He extracted another squeal as he dragged his tongue between her buttocks in a slow, thorough lick, all the way up to the hollow at the base of her spine, to the uproarious laughter of his comrades.

"Well, Demoiselle Adeleine; it seems you are well met," chuckled Laurent as Adeleine gasped, cheeks burning at the sensation of a man's tongue between her buttocks. Certainly I had never done that to her, though I do not quite know why not. When one is clean, as Adeleine and I always are, there seems no harm in it.

"Don't mind Matthieu," Laurent said to Adeleine as the ginger-haired youth smirked at her flushed face. "He has a clever tongue, when he deigns to use it.”

Matthieu looked at Adeleine with his narrow blue eyes, licking his lips slowly.

"Oh!" Adeleine cried, and looked away, her face aflame.

Laurent turned her face back for another kiss. "Fetch bread and cheese for us," he said, sending her off with a tap on her bottom. "There's a good girl."

"My sister isn't a serving girl," I said, unable to restrain myself.

The man who had entered Adeleine with his finger rumbled a laugh. He was heavy, with thick brown hair and beard, dressed in jerkin, doublet, breeches and riding boots in Southern fashion. He looked to be of an age with Ferrand; the two oldest of the group. "You watch your sister pawed by the likes of me and old Ferrand, here," he said, his deep voice rich with humor, "and say not a word! But the thought of her fetching bread and cheese affronts you?"

"Your presence affronts me," I said. "As does the fact that you still breathe.”

Laurent raised an eyebrow. "There you go, Remy,” he said. "The young lord has spoken." He crouched next to me and rested a hand on my shoulder, producing a clean, damp kerchief that smelled of spirits. The cut on my brow stung as he dabbed it. Then he pressed a light kiss to my forehead.

I shook him off with a glare. “If my sister did not need me alive, I'd fight you all,” I said. “I’d gladly give my life to remove two or three of you brigands from this world."

Bearded, dark-haired Remy, having listened to my speech with utter nonchalance, put a wine bottle to his lips and took a swig. "A good year," he said, raising the bottle in appreciation as though we were at dinner together. "My compliments to your lord father for his excellent taste." He passed the bottle to Torbjörn. "Try it, Torbjörn," he said. "You and Kolbjörn will have to get used to Southern wine eventually."

Torbjörn turned up his nose and glanced at his fellow Northman. "Maybe when Southern merchants run out of our mead," he said, then looked at me. "Boy! Where does your father store his mead?"

"He doesn't drink it," I said. The disdain must have crept into my voice, for both Torbjörn and Kolbjörn chuckled, their blue eyes meeting in deepest amusement.

"Fine," Torbjörn said. "Give me the wine."

I suppressed some small satisfaction at that. It is true - Father does not drink mead. But we have plenty in the cellar for his merchant friends; and I am told it is excellent. Torbjörn and his younger companion, however, would get none of it.

Adeleine returned from the kitchens, carrying a tray laden with bread and cheese. Her cheeks were pink with embarrassment as the men applauded her. "About time," called Ferrand. "Move your pretty arse, girl."

Adeleine quickened her step, her bare breasts bobbing. She laid her tray on the fine, polished table upon which several men were resting their feet, and arranged the food for the brigands. Laurent stood behind her and held her hips, watching her smooth back as she worked.

Remy, poking among the sitting room drawers and cabinets, had found a small vial of scented sandalwood oil. In the evenings, it is burned over a lamp to scent the room; but the bearded idiot had got it all over his fingers. "Here, girl," he said, and Laurent turned her towards him. Remy smeared the oil over her breasts until they shone, tweaking each nipple to rouse it. Then he streaked the stuff down her belly, forming a shining trail to the soft curled triangle of hair above her sex. She looked down at her shining skin, her cheeks flushing deeper. "Turn around," Remy ordered. "That's it." He ran his fingers up and down the crease of her arse to wipe from them the last of the oil.

"Very nice," said Laurent, turning her by her shoulders, appreciating the scent and sight of her oiled brown skin. His men had gone silent. Ferrand was standing frozen with a wedge of cheese on the edge of his belt knife. Remy and narrow-eyed Matthieu were smirking. Torbjörn and Kolbjörn stared like wolves; and Adeleine was shaking under six pairs of hungry eyes. As for me, I cannot deny the effect that oil had on me. Remy knew what he was doing. My sister's breasts and belly and arse glowed under the lamplight, enticing, inviting, and my cock stuck straight up between my legs like a mast.

"I will have her first, men," Laurent said in a warning tone, and the brigands shook themselves from their spell, grumbling. I shuddered to think what would happen when Laurent had finished with her. Would they all fall upon her at once, like a pack of dogs? I couldn't bear it if they hurt her.

"The food should keep them busy," Laurent said to Adeleine with a grin, an arm around her shoulders. "Come here.” He slid a hand into her hair and kissed her - a lover’s kiss, full and deep and slow. I was surprised by the sensitivity in his dark eyes as he claimed my sister’s mouth with his own, gently pushing his tongue inside her mouth. Adeleine kissed him back, breathless with fear, shaking in his strong hands.

“Kneel,” Laurent said, and she dropped to her knees, head lowered. Her hair fell over her bare back in dark waves. “Undo my belt, and unlace my breeches,” Laurent said, smirking at me with his dark eyes and sensual mouth. Adeleine obeyed his commands with deft fingers.

“Good girl,” he said, stroking her hair. Her eyes widened as she saw his thick, hard cock. I could not help but look too. He was very broad, and I winced to think of him taking Adeleine’s tight quim.

She looked up at Laurent, taking his cock in her hand almost reverently, a look of wonder on her face. I groaned. How was it possible for a woman to be both innocent and whorish at once? Adeleine had managed it.

“Open your mouth, Demoiselle Gascaign,” Laurent said, meeting my eyes, amused at what he saw there.

She shut her eyes and took his shaft in her mouth. A few of the men had turned to watch.

“Ahhh, that’s it,” Laurent said, arching his back and thrusting forward into her mouth. “Here, show your brother how much you love it.” He tucked loose curls behind Adeleine’s ear, ensuring that I could see his wet, hard shaft sliding between my sister’s lips. He took her mouth slowly at first, while Adeleine, with eyes shut, discovered his shaft. Soon she was sliding her tongue along its underside and sucking to draw him deeper.

Laurent groaned with pleasure. “Ohh, yes,” he said, smoothing her hair from her face as it fell upon her cheeks. He grinned at me. “Hadr and Thrum,” he swore. “Did you know her to be such an eager slut?” He pushed his hips forward in a thrust, burying his cock deeper in her mouth. With a moan, she relaxed and took him.

My face grew hot with shame as I saw how willingly my sister accepted his cock. You must realise that I would never wish Adeleine the slightest pain or sorrow. I know that I should have been glad that she was not sobbing in terror, or being beaten for resisting Laurent’s attentions; and I was, truly I was. But to watch one’s sister debauched like this is not something a man ever thinks to endure.

Laurent watched me through half-closed eyes. He took a handful of Adeleine’s hair and used it to hold her head, gentleness giving way to rough desire. He began to thrust hard into her mouth, forcing Adeleine to gasp for breath.

“Stop,” I said. “Please don’t!”

But Adeleine only moaned around his shaft, working him with her tongue, her mouth open and willing for the taste of his cock. Laurent’s men snickered, watching the show.

“I told you you’d like the South,” Torbjörn said, clapping Kolbjörn on the back. “Even the highborn Southern ladies are sluts at heart.”

“True enough,” Laurent said with a chuckle. Reluctantly he pulled his cock free lest he spill in her mouth. “You are a skilled little wench, aren’t you?” He pulled her to her feet and threw her against a long, cushioned chaise-lounge. “Kneel, little wench,” he said, “And bend over. You’ve practised long enough on your brother. It’s high time a man showed you what a real fucking feels like.”

Adeleine braced her arms on the chaise lounge’s cushioned back, and rested her cheek on it with a whimper of fear.

“Be strong, Adeleine,” I said. “Someday I’ll avenge you.”

“Vengeance?” Laurent laughed at this. “What for? She will thank me for a decent fuck at last. See how her cunt drips with sex.” His gloved hands spread her buttocks, and sure enough, a glistening trail of wetness was sliding down her inner thigh.

He drew back a hand and delivered a sharp spank across her bare bottom. She wriggled and gasped, pointing her arse high.

Laurent’s men laughed around mouthfuls of my father’s bread and wine.

Again, and again, Laurent’s hand struck my sister’s tender arse. Her cries were half-pained, half-thrilled. His gloved palm laid across her bare flesh with loud cracks until her bottom was as pink as a dusky rose. She spread her thighs even wider, clutching at the back of the chaise lounge to endure, and now both of her thighs were wet with sex.

Laurent held her hips, knelt behind her and licked the trail of moisture from one thigh, stopping just short of the sex-slick lips of her quim. “Sweet as honey,” he said, licking his lips, “and salt as well. You are a lusty little slut.” His tongue gathered up the trail of wetness from her other thigh, and this time he ran his tongue along the swollen lips of her quim from back to front, finishing with a flick of his tongue-tip against her pleasure-pearl. She screamed, pushing her bottom back against Laurent’s face so that his mouth and beard were buried between her thighs.

He held her hips there, working at her with his tongue and lips as she squealed and writhed, throwing back her head and arching her back. Laurent’s men laughed and crowed as her breasts thrust high, nipples flushed and hard.

“Laurent! Laurent!” She cried. “I’m - Oh, I’m going to - Oh -!”

Suddenly Laurent withdrew, grinning, his mouth and beard slick with her sex. “Not yet, little Gascaign,” he said, taking her by her hair again and turning her around. He bent her back and kissed her, thrusting his tongue deep, forcing the taste of her own sex into her mouth.

“Not just yet.” Laurent broke the kiss. “I would have you filled, little wench, writhing around my cock.”

“Please,” she whispered, her breath coming in gasps. “Please!”

“On your back,” Laurent commanded, and she reclined, her arms thrown above her head, thighs parted.

“That was easy,” said Ferrand from the table, and the men laughed coarsely.

Adeleine spread her thighs wide, and her need was written all over her body, from flushed face to hard pink nipples and sex-slick quim, her pleasure-pearl shining with desire. Laurent looked over her with smirking eyes, stroking his cock and thumbing the wet head thoughtfully. He parted the lips of her quim with his thumbs and she writhed in need. He could not resist giving her another kiss, lowering his head between her legs to roll the little pearl between his lips and slip his tongue inside her.

She gave a low, despairing moan, impatient as ever. Gods, would he ever take her? It seemed Laurent, too, knew the sweet agony of tormenting a woman until she was mad with need.

When he could stand no more, Laurent raised his head, dark eyes glittering. He raised Adeleine’s legs above her head and pushed them apart, baring her slit and causing her lips to part, pink and swollen, sticky with sex.

With the tip of his cock between finger and thumb, he dabbed her pleasure-pearl, making her shudder, then nudged the lips of her quim apart, teasing her opening.

“Take me,” Adeleine whispered. “Please, Laurent.”

I could not help but feel betrayed. I had been Adeleine’s first, and she had been mine; and now here she was, begging to be used by the first brigand to cross our paths.

Still, I could hardly blame her for begging. Laurent used the head of his cock to smear her with her own slipperiness, circling and teasing, coating her lips and pearl with sex. His arms were shaking with control by the time he began to dip inside her, just the head at first, hardly entering her at all.

“Ohh, that’s good,” he said, as my sister let out a moan of need. He eased in a little deeper, and Adeleine thrust her hips forward, trying to draw him inside her. “Good,” he whispered, hands on the backs of her thighs. He was torturously slow as he pressed his length all the way into her until he was snug inside, and Adeleine was squirming in pleasure.

Laurent made love to Adeleine. That is the only way to describe it. He took her with long, slow strokes, striving to give pleasure as well as to take it. There was no doubt in my mind that he was forcing her; Adeleine had no choice in the matter. We were overpowered by six rough men and there was nothing either of us could do. But Adeleine’s hips rocked into his slow thrusts, her eyes shut. Their bodies moved together, as lovers’ did - as ours had, just that afternoon.

It did not take long before they came.

Laurent groaned, his head thrown back, dark eyes closed and hair in disarray. It was a glorious sight, sweat on his brow, his shirt open and trousers around his knees. He was lean and strong, with dark hair all down his belly and thighs. Adeleine looked just as delicious, her face flushed, belly shuddering and breasts bouncing as they moved together in climax.

“Oh, by the Gods,” Laurent said and shook all over, spilling inside her.

Remy and Matthieu clinked their bottles together. Torbjörn and Kolbjörn exchanged muttered words in Norse, and laughed; while Ferrand applauded his leader’s performance.

“Gods, man, you take your fucking time,” Ferrand said. “Let me have her.”

Laurent grinned and pulled out, seed and sex dribbling from his cock. “Aye, you’ve waited long enough,” he said. He held Adeleine’s legs up so that his seed would not be lost, and beckoned to Ferrand. “Here, my friend,” he said. “She is yours.”

Ferrand grunted in approval, freed his cock from his trousers, and knelt on the chaise. “Praise all the gods,” he said, looking down at Adeleine’s pink, dripping quim. Laurent parted her legs for Ferrand to slide in deep.

Adeleine whimpered as once more she was filled with a highwayman’s cock.

“Tight, is she not?” Laurent said, watching. The hair at the base of Ferrand’s cock was shot through with steel, like the cropped hair on his head, and his cock shone wet as he thrust.

“Gods, yes,” Ferrand said, his eyes shut.

Unlike Laurent, Ferrand was no romantic. There were no slow, teasing strokes from him. Where Laurent had made love to her, Ferrand simply fucked her, thorough and rhythmic. He was not unduly rough, but nor was he gentle; and there were notes of pain in Adeleine’s soft gasps. He grunted as he came, bucking into Adeleine with a series of sharp, aggressive shoves that made her squeal.

No sooner had Ferrand stood up, grey eyes dazed with pleasure, than Remy approached the chaise-lounge for his turn.

“Very lovely,” said Remy, watching seed drip between her legs onto the fabric of the chaise. His broad cock was out, and he was stroking it. “I do love to see a woman put so well to use.” He groaned with relish as he sank his shaft into the creamy mess of seed.

When Remy had finished with her, Torbjörn grinned, taking out his cock, and beckoned for Kolbjörn. The taller Northman flipped Adeleine from her back to her hands and knees with practiced ease. She weighed next to nothing in his ropy-muscled arms. Torbjörn was rock-hard, his cock dripping with his own desire, and he penetrated her suddenly and without ceremony. Torbjörn sank deep inside her and gave her a few hard thrusts, extracting squeals of pained delight. “She’s tight,” he reported, and Kolbjörn laughed.

“She won’t be when we’re done.” Kolbjörn nudged Torbjörn to make room for him on the chaise, and together the northmen parted Adeleine’s legs wide. Kolbjörn eased the tip of his shaft next to his brother’s, ready to join him.

“No,” I cried, “You’ll hurt her!” But of course, my protests were ignored. She cried out as Kolbjörn entered her and two cocks stretched her poor quim wide. For the first time there was real pain in her voice - although still mixed with pleasure.

The ease with which Kolbjörn slipped in alongside his brother, finding a rhythm with him as they slid in and out of Adeleine, betrayed practice. I wondered how many conquered women these barbarians had raped together. At the same time, I could not help wondering how it would feel - to penetrate Adeleine as my cock slid against another man’s, slick and hot. Laurent’s, perhaps. If we had her together, I would be making love to him as well as to her. And when we spent together…

I flushed and looked away. Gods, I was as bad as they were.

As if reading my thoughts, Laurent sat beside me to watch. “Lovely, isn’t it?” he said, draping an arm around me.

Kolbjörn spilled first with a grunt and a shudder, frothy come bubbling around his cock and his brother’s. Torbjörn, watching him, spilled seconds later, adding his own seed to the sticky mess. Adeleine was breathing hard, her arms braced against the arm of the chaise, fingers gripping the plush fabric. I do not think she climaxed, with the northmen; and they had not bothered to try to make her.

The brothers pulled out, wiping their cocks. Torbjörn ruffled my hair as he passed me. “Good fuck,” he said as though complimenting me. I looked away, furious.

Young, ginger-haired Matthieu was last in line. He did not seem to mind at all, parting the lips of Adeleine’s abused, wet quim with his fingers, and grinning to see the seed of five men inside her. He sank his shaft deep into all that seed, rocking his hips into Adeleine in a slow, irregular rhythm, smirking all the while. The other men’s seed spilled from between their bodies, coating the ginger hair around his shaft, and dripping between the cheeks of Adeleine’s arse.

Matthieu rocked like that long enough to wet his cock, then pulled out. Grasping the back of Adeleine’s neck, he pushed her head low to the seat of the chaise. “Down,” he said, and she pressed her face to the chaise with a soft moan. Matthieu tapped her arse. “Up,” he ordered, smirking.

“Matthieu always has loved arse as much as quim,” said Remy, idly stroking his own cock as he watched, and knowing what would follow. “That right, my lad?”

“Better,” Matthieu said, grinning.

Matthieu slipped two fingers inside Adeleine’s quim, coating them with sex and seed, then used the slippery wetness on his fingertips to tease her arse, slicking the pink puckered hole. Adeleine moaned, scandalised and fearful. She looked at me, and I met her eyes helplessly.

Laurent crouched next to me. “Never had her arse done, has she?” He draped an arm around my shoulders. “I know that look in a woman’s eyes.” He laughed and said to Matthieu, “She might not have been a virgin, Matthieu my boy, but you’ll be first to claim that tight little hole.”

I shook my head, my eyes squeezing shut. “Please, stop him,” I whispered.

“Open your eyes, lad,” Laurent murmured, his lips at the rim of my ear. “Your pretty sister is a born slut. She loves every moment of this.” His fingers worked into my hair, stroking, then pulling gently, forcing me to raise my head. “Watch.”

With guilty longing, I obeyed. Adeleine shook with fright and anticipation as one, her legs trembling but parted wide. The cleft between her cheeks shone wet from Matthieu’s teasing fingers.

Laurent began to nuzzle at my throat. “Good,” he whispered, giving my skin a soft nip.

The head of Matthieu’s cock pressed against her arse. His shaft was wet from dipping inside her quim, coated with the seed of his five companions. He eased himself in, forcing the tiny hole open around his shaft, shutting his eyes with a groan of blissful relish.

Ohhh!” Her cry was torn from her throat with an intensity that I had never given her, such a purity of pain and pleasure in it that I stared in wonder.

“Can you imagine how it feels?” Laurent murmured against my neck. I shivered at the touch of his lips, the scrape of his beard against my skin.

“Wouldn’t you like to try it?” He turned my face to his and kissed my lips.

“I won’t take her. Not like this,” I said, anger burning in me even as I opened my mouth to his. I had no choice but to watch my sister raped, but he could not make me violate her too. I would not do it.

He laughed against my mouth. “You’re such an innocent,” he said. His tongue dipped between my lips, touching my tongue. “That’s not at all what I meant.”

“What -“

Laurent withdrew, cupping my face and shaking his head. “Here, sweet thing. Turn around.” He turned my shoulders so that my back was to him, and bent me to my hands and knees. A hand between my shoulder blades circled gently, then ran down my back. It wasn’t until his touch reached my arse that I understood.

“No! - I can’t, I -” But why was it any different from what these men had done to Adeleine? Why should I be spared the indignity of rape, when my sister had been taken six times over?

“See how your sister loves it,” he said. “Don’t you want to feel what she does?”

He held my hips steady, and I felt his coarse beard and soft mouth at the base of my spine as he kissed me there. Long fingers spread my cheeks apart, and the scratch and scrape dipped lower, lower, until his tongue flicked against my hole. It was like nothing on this earth. He circled me with his tongue, teasing me, slicking my arsehole. I had never thought about such a thing before. My head spun, my face flushed in shame and pleasure. He kissed, licked, touched. Lips and tongue and fingers brought me to the edge of begging and left me there - moaning, crying out, gasping his name between ragged breaths.

I realised everyone was looking at me, watching me on my hands and knees with Laurent playing with my arse. I had never known such humiliation.

“That’s it,” Laurent said, an odd note of kindness in his soft voice. “Feels good, doesn’t it?” There was the scent of sandalwood again, then a warm fingertip opened me for the first time, edging gently, ever so slightly, inside me. I cried out. It did not hurt, not exactly; but it was so strange, and my body tensed, fighting the intrusion.

A soothing hand circled on my lower back, as Laurent made a sympathetic noise and pushed his finger deeper. “Shh, it’s all right. Adeleine can tell you; what pain there is is well worth it.”

Adeleine! My thoughts returned to her, and her soft, pleasure-pained gasps filtered back in to my awareness. I turned my head to look at her and saw her with her eyes shut, a fine layer of sweat across her forehead, her lower lip between her teeth. Matthieu was hurting her, I knew, but she was rocking back to meet his thrusts, giving herself to the pain, to him.

Laurent’s finger withdrew, and I heard the slick sound of wet skin on wet skin as he rubbed his oiled cock. His other hand remained on my back, the steady pressure urging me to be still. I shuddered a little when I felt his hot, slippery shaft between my buttocks, and he laughed, teasing me some more by rubbing the tip against my hole.

“Planning to fuck the boy before I die of old age?” called Remy. “Hurry up. I’ll take my turn when you’re done.”

“In good time,” Laurent said, stroking my back. “Needs a little care, this one. Don’t you?” Bracing the head of his cock between his fingertips, he eased his hips forward and I felt myself slowly open around him. There was pain as my hole was stretched wide around his cock; and then deeper pain as his thick shaft filled me. He was buried inside me - I felt his hard thighs at the backs of my own, the hair at the base of his cock brushing my arse. He eased back and I felt my spread hole clench around him, as though my body was trying to push him out; but he thrust hard back inside, taking me deeper still. I was ashamed to hear a pained cry torn from my throat, but truly I lacked the power to contain it.

Laurent laughed and squeezed my arm. “Feel strange?”

“I - Gods - Ohhh,” I moaned, as his hips began to make a gentle rhythm against my arse. I think it hurt me more than it seemed to hurt Adeleine; a fact for which I was truly grateful.

Laurent was a skilled lover, slow and oddly tender. This will sound strange, but I cannot explain what happened to me while that rogue was taking me in any other way: I believe I fell in love with him, just for that moment.

He held my hips, pulling me to him, pulling himself into me. He was moaning, gasping out his pleasure, praising me, the shape and smoothness of my arse and the tightness of my delicate hole. I felt his pleasure and it became my own.

As I began to accept my fate, so my body began to accept its use. I relaxed somewhat, and this made Laurent’s firm thrusts less painful.

“Ahh, that’s better,” he murmured, noticing. “Just like that. Oh, that’s good, isn’t it.” His heavy sac slapped softly between the cheeks of my arse. He reached for my cock and found me achingly hard, and I shivered as his hand wrapped around me. He gently drew me out, palming me, coaxing me toward the brink.

“Up, now,” he whispered, pulling me against him. “Lean against me. Good boy.” I felt his chest against my back, warm and hard. His long fingers cupped my sac, squeezed gently, and then crept behind it. Nobody had ever touched me like this - with more knowledge of my body than I had myself. Laurent found the spot between my sac and my arse and gently pressed up with his fingers; his cock reached me in that same spot when each slow thrust sank home. He was inside me, around me, his mouth against my throat.

I was lost. I could bear no more.

I remember throwing back my head, my eyes opening just a crack to see that Adeleine was looking back at me, insensible with pleasure. She, too, was being very thoroughly fucked; as Matthieu was taking her arse, he was fucking her quim with his fingers. Laurent cupped my cock against my belly, and I began to spend, my own seed spilling over his hand. “Yes,” Laurent growled, feeling me come. “Yes.” He spilled too, his hot come filling me in spurts.

Afterwards, I do not know how long I lay with Laurent, my head against his chest. He held me as I shook, recovering. However long I stayed there, I was still trembling, aftershocks of pleasure rippling through me, when Remy came to claim me.

Dark-haired Remy pulled me to my feet, and threw me to the chaise lounge where I landed in Adeleine’s warm arms. Still dazed with pleasure, she threw her arms around me.

“Araun! Did he hurt you?”

I shook my head and held her, tucking her head protectively under my chin, and we looked up at Laurent together.

“You’re not done yet, lovely twins,” he said, eyes glimmering with mirth. “On your back,” the brigand leader said to me, “and spread your legs. My men have a few more ideas yet…”