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From:  Last Train From Boston

 

Gregory had a three room apartment earned by maintaining the plumbing in the local commissioner’s three houses.  Three seemed to be his lucky number.  He also had three women on the young side of twenty-five living in the apartment with him.

The women cleaned, cooked watched his flat screen interactive entertainment device, and preformed really great sex.  Heck, they were all eager for love when ever he crooked his finger in a come hither motion.  He liked to think they were all in love with him; but suspected the real reason was that none of the women wished to return to the government run women's shelters.

Gregory had spent the morning replacing all the kits in the water closets of Comrade O’Neil’s house on Mansion Circle Drive, City of Boston, East Coast Soviet (There were no longer states but Boston was capital of what had once been the New England States).  The house had four full bathrooms and a half bath;  One water closet was the older Ever-fill model.  Instead of the Ever-fill taking fifteen minutes to overhaul; he had spent the whole afternoon not leaving until he was certain that everything was working perfectly.

Already frustrated he had stored his tools in the lock box on the aging truck that O'Neil allowed him to use on the days Gregory worked for him.

Gregory had started home; only to remember that he had promised to try to buy some eggs.  Sally had picked up the rest of the groceries but came by during his lunch hour to tell him that the Peoples Democratic Supermarket was expecting to have eggs shortly after 3 pm.  Gregory had waited in the egg line for twenty minutes to buy six eggs at the P. D. S.

The old man behind him in line muttered to himself.  The boiling over with anger he spoke to Gregory.  “The chairman of the Supreme Soviet promised that we would have produce, milk, and eggs.  All lies, every time his lips move; just lies and lies and lies."

The old man seemed determined to get himself arrested; as he rambled on:  "I can remember when that last real Democrat was wiping his ass on the Constitution of the late Republic.  There was of course the leadership of the Republican Party standing by to hand him scraps of the Constitution when ever he asked.  That last Democrat promised that peace and prosperity would become universal once the United States was brought down to the level of the third world.  He promised that the middle class would give up nothing; we would just soak the rich, let the Federal Reserve Banks issue bonds and then buy them to keep the markets moving upward."

"Back then you could buy a whole dozen eggs for less than two dollars.  Now we wait in line to buy one at thirty credits.  You’re too young to know; but that is the same as several hundred of the old Republic’s dollars.

Gregory glanced nervously at the cameras and microphones.  “I’m sure everything in the past gets better as you grow older; except of course we can be thankful that we have a government that takes care of everyone!”  Gregory did not believe that for a moment but there were cameras focused along with directional microphones on this line.  What he really thought was quite different.  There was no reason to live in the East-coast Soviet any longer.  Price controls and an eighty percent non-working population made it impossible to even have an adequate diet.

Coming soon at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jmjosephson


Free Preview of The Prince in the Shadows; Scheduled for released in November by i-universe publishers.  The book will be available in all popular E-Book formats and in soft cover. The first seventeen of forty-three Chapters follow:

The Prince in the Shadows

 

By: James Monroe Josephson

 

First E-Book Edition

 

Published By: James Monroe Josephson at I-universe Publishers

www.TemporairyUnavailable

Copyright © 2013 by James Monroe Josephson

Your support and respect for the property of this author is appreciated. Thank you for purchasing this book, it remains the copyrighted property of the author, and may not be 'e'-reproduced, copied and/or distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to purchase their own copy.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. There has been an attempt to portray the City of Richmond Virginia and certain landmarks as the author has known and loved them. The characters are productions of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously.

 

This is adult reading material not intended for readers under age eighteen; and may be offensive to some adults of any age.

 

I offer many thanks to my long suffering wife, who encouraged me to read the book aloud; and offered intelligent comments to improve the flow of the story. This book is dedicated to her, my darling and the love of my life.

 

Please note the back story set in eighty-six anno Domini contains short direct quotes from old British Manuscripts and it uses the spelling and grammar of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Modern alphabet characters are used through out the quotes.

 

****

 

Table of Contents

 

Prologue:

The Readers

Before the beginning of the Empire: Eighty and Six Anno Domini

Two-thousand Anno Domino; The Age of Majority

 

Chapter 1: Prince James, the Eighteenth Birthday:

The Official History of the Founding of the Empire

Prince James recalls his basic education.

Eighty and Six Anno Domini: The Flight

 

Chapter 2: Two Thousand Anno Domini: The Infatuation

 

Chapter 3: The Princes’ Audience

 

Chapter 4: Prince James is given stern lectures by the Emperor and the Patriarch

 

Chapter 5: A Prince’s Choice

Eighty and Six Anno Domini: Shelter in a Cave

Seeking Aniela

 

Chapter 6: The First Time

 

Chapter 7: The Imperial Summons

The Ship

The Summons

 

Chapter 8: James takes two solemn oaths

 

Chapter 9: Preparing to Embark

 

Chapter 10: Orienting to Richmond

 

Chapter 11: The Grand Tour

Roberta's Resentment Provokes an Angry Response

 

Chapter 12: Aniela and James Spend a Blissful Night

 

Chapter 13: First Shower

 

Chapter 14: Alberta’s Secret

 

Chapter 15: Aniela Learns Her Responsibilities

 

Chapter 16: Prince James Begins to Organize His Household

 

Chapter 17: The Prince of Piedmont’s First Council of War

Eighty and Six Anno Domini: The Vain Search for Norse Christian Survivors

Council of War

***

 

Prologue

 

The Readers

 

Jessie-op-David the prince of Ulvevstauwf was seated under an olive tree in the garden. The garden location was in front of a group of carefully maintained buildings; that were located in the heavily forested mountains of Rohm on the continent of Tyroe. The semi-retired the prince had spent most of the last two years here on Tyroe; the third largest land mass on the planet Ulvevstauwf. He had moved here from the Arch-Ducal palace at Celtsholm after he had returned from the battle of Orion an invalid.

Prince Jessie hated the last exercise in his daily routine, he pushed a button on his wrist communicator, “Clara, come and help me finish my therapy.” The dreaded exercise was the most painful in his therapy regimen; but he submitted, hoping to recover fully from his war injuries.

“Harkening and obeying, my lord;” Clara was careful to speak clearly. She finished checking the dials on the Chronicle an accurate historical virtual reality device. Clara was a beautiful intelligent woman; who worked hard at keeping herself attractive as well as fit. Clara had already borne the prince one daughter. She was his favorite woman, one of three bondwomen the prince had summonsed to his current residence.

Prince Jessie looked up as Clara approached, hearing the noise of her labored breathing. He noticed that her face was flushed; “What's wrong Clara?”

Clara laughed, “Nothing, I just ran down from the third floor. I was in the library checking the machine that feeds data to the virtual reality projectors in your suite; when you called for my assistance.”

Clara removed a machine from the small weather proof table near the lounge. Conscious of her lord’s eyes, she moved with that deliberate languor; which experience had taught her the prince found seductive.

Prince Jessie always finished his daily therapy secession by using the pain inducing appliance which Clara now brought to him. She carefully strapped the appliance to Prince Jessie’s leg; “How does it fit?” she asked.

Jessie could hear the genuine concern in Clara’s voice. “You mean this mechanical rack? You always do a great job; especially with adjusting the length of a piston’s stroke;” Jessie grinned. He was consciously teasing Clara. Prince Jessie grimaced with discomfort as the appliance gradually bent his injured leg and then stretched it straight. He saw his pain mirrored on the face of his bondwoman; and tried manfully to keep a bland expression.

Physically, the prince was rapidly recovering from his injuries. Jessie had begun to feel his vigor and stamina approaching normal. He was even experiencing a stirring of lust mingled with real affection, as he watched Clara’s graceful movements. Her quite attentiveness in caring for him had awakened feeling that he thought he had buried with Ursula, the deceased mother of his only living male heir.

“Soon I will be able to walk and run without any assistance; physically I should be in top form in just a few more weeks,” Jessie said.

Clara sensed that something was being left unsaid. “The movements in your leg muscles are greatly improved; what else is bothering my lord?”

The Prince’s face betrayed his dismay as he confided in Clara; "my mind is the cause of my lingering concern. Something has happened to my thought process; as a result of the terrible head injury received during the battle of Orison.”

Clara had guessed; this was reason Jessie so often spoke aloud. Giving her all the details of circumstances he was wrestling with mentally. Speaking aloud must be the tool the prince used for working things out in his own mind;” she thought.

Clara felt sad as she knelt at Jessie's side; she gently picked up his hand and kissed it. Prince Jessie saw the glint of tears behind her eyes as she smiled at him. He appreciated this woman's rare gift: listening and showing sympathy without expressing pity. The Prince of Ulvevstauwf would not be pitied!

The device continued painfully to stretch and compress the muscles of his wounded leg. When twenty minutes had passed; Clara removed the appliance and put it away.

Prince Jessie watched her carefully place the device back inside its water proof cabinet. “Come and sit with me Clara;” Jessie said. ”I am content to leave the government of this vast principality in the hands of my vassal Earl Danguawlf. The Earl rules Ulvevstauwf in close consultation with my son Paul, the Viscount of Whithorn.”

Clara realized that the prince was repeating the information; but she replied positively as she mentally reminded herself that this was a process necessary for Prince Jessie. “The Earl has served you well. I remember that his ancestors arrived during the latter years of the first century.”

“I chose him because he was my son's companion from a very early age. I have no doubt of his loyalty to Paul. He will protect Paul's interest; until the day that my son ascends the throne of Ulvevstauwf.”

“Clara, it was you that I thought of the most; when, I almost died at Orison. Your unchanged affection has been most important to my recovery. I will fill your mind with passion and desire; if God be pleased to grant that mercy, I will sire more sons to secure the future of the Dynasty. I still wish to see my subjects continue to be well fed, happy, prosperous, and above all safe from the Godless foes beyond our frontiers.”

Suddenly, Jessie made one of the jumps in thought with which Clara had become all too familiar. “I am glad you enjoy the Ancient Chronicles. Do you know how it is possible to see the past; even events that were almost two thousand years ago?”

“No my lord; it is all so very real! The Ancient Chronicles, they are happening before my very eyes. It is strange to be able to come to know your ancestors, dead these many centuries. Often we can smell the scents associated with the events; and sometimes we are even privy not only to the conversation of those long dead; but also their thoughts. Would you please explain to me how this is possible?”

Jessie had long been impressed with Clara’s intelligence; and he could not help being flattered by her desire to be taught by him. “You know that our Assaer Christians see and project to the common mind of their native city by telepathy. The wonder of their telepathic gift is that the images, thoughts, and speech are all recorded somewhere in the common mind of their colonies. About a thousand years ago the engineers of the Emperor’s Assaer in the city of Sylvania invented a means of retrieving and digitizing these histories. They are very careful to stick to the facts; but to make the history more interesting to humans readers, a plot is developed and missing bits are filled in on the narrative. The parts, those not from the collective mind, are carefully studied to make sure there is harmony with all the recorded facts.”

“The Chronicles are all true my lord?” Clara asked.

“Yes the Assaer are often better Christians than their human friends. Co-operating in a lie is just not possible to them. Follow me upstairs and we will watch something recorded by invisible Assaer before my ancestors even knew that the race existed.”

It is difficult to describe the way that Clara and Prince Jessie were suddenly in the very midst of smells, conversations, and actions which had occurred in the year of grace eighty and six. The descriptions and conversations following are just as they experienced them in the bedroom of Jessie Prince and Archduke of Ulvevstauwf.

 

Before the Beginning of Empire: Eighty and Six Anno Domini

 

The small horse of Prince Thomas of Ulvevstauwf picked its way up the steep hills; the men were approaching the tiny fortified city of Dumsauwf. His father’s thane-men had taken almost six days to cover the swampy moors and rocky ridges between Glastonbury and Dumsauwf. “Will we be in time Alfred?” The prince asked of the broad shouldered priest militant riding a head of him on the narrow path.

“God only knows,” Alfred answered; “if not in time to save them; then perhaps to avenge their blood”. He hesitated a moment wishing to give some comfort to the prince. “Lord Dumsauwf will find some way to get the princess and your child out safely; if he sees that the place cannot be held.”

Prince Thomas groaned, “I should have never allowed Althea to visit her sister. She begged me; Althea was so eager to see her sister’s new baby. My father could not spare me to go with her. The pagan blue-dyed hoards are gathering in large numbers just a few miles north of Callombrae and I was needed to train the raw boys who have answered their king’s call to defend our homeland. Now my wife and little son are surrounded by the Danes! The cause of this misfortune is mine. I knew better than to allow her to go so near the sea.”

The priest was silent for a while; thinking of his own wife Grace and small daughter Deidre. They had accompanied the princess on her visit to the wife of Lord Dumsauwf. Everyone had believed the danger to the ream lay in the north with the gathering hordes of pagans.

The snow and cold had made it necessary to find shelter each evening for the wiry highland horses; some place with at least some cover from the biting wind sweeping down from the North. They had traveled as fast as they could; even now, they were hoping to reach the Christian city before the pagan Danes forced their way inside. The courage of untrained men, a shallow moat, and a rough palisade of sharpened logs were the only defensive armor of the little city of Dumsauwf.

Alfred prayed and silently thought on the situation facing the Christians of Dumsauwf. He finally spoke knowing that the same thoughts must be lying heavily on the hearts of all the warriors. The priest tossed his great battle axe in the air, caught the handle with his right hand, and called aloud the words from the apostolic litany: “By thy Baptism, Fasting, Death, and Mighty Resurrection…Lord have mercy upon us!”

Twenty four male voices thundered an importuning response “Christ have mercy upon us!”

There were only twenty three of these fierce Thane-men, a young but battle-hardened prince, and a fierce priest-militant to face the warriors from four long-boats. Alfred the priest declared, “God is with us; who can stand against us.” The declaration sounded hollow, in Alfred’s own ears; and it did only a little to heighten the mood of the little band; they needed a miracle. They all knew that the usual tactic of the Dane was to attack immediately; then leave quickly with a plunder of valuables and slaves.

Alfred reached the top of the hill; where, he paused motioning for silence. Prince Thomas rode up and dismounted at his side. The downward slope of the steep hill had been denuded by a lightning strike. The area had thoroughly burned over some months earlier during the long drought of early autumn. The priest was listening intently; suddenly, Prince Thomas also heard the sound. A mummer carried by the breeze, of several voices chanting the fifty-ninth Psalm in unison: “…Deliver me from the workers of iniquity and save me from the bloody men…”

The prince and the priest watched astonished; as they saw a monk followed by a large group of women and children; emerge from the forest at the bottom of the hill and start up the slope toward them. Behind the women and children were a large group of elderly men and women, some leaning on walking sticks.

The Psalm chanters had made only a few yards of progress; when, a ragged group of men and boys armed with scythes and pitchforks emerged. A few of these farmers were carrying thin bronze shields on their arms, a style favored by the Celts. They were obviously urging the refugees to greater speed; while forming an irregular guard just behind the elderly adults. Another group appeared quickly behind them their clothes, made from finer material was tattered from the briers and brush. In the middle of this group was a young woman, her head covered with the dyed prayer scarf of a married gentlewoman. She was carrying a toddler in her arms, a flaxen haired boy child.

When he caught sight of the woman a ragged sob burst from the throat of the prince. “Althea and Samuel, May God be praised!” Prince Thomas cried out; and, before the priest could prevent him, he spurred the little horse in a half slide, down the steep and twisting trail.

Alfred saw his own wife carrying their daughter; and the Lady Joan, hurrying after the princess with a small bundle in her arms. He wished to gallop after the prince; but, remembered his duty. “Form a shield wall,” he bellowed to the Thane-men. “Stand and prepare to pass the refugees through the shield line!” The Thane-men formed a solid wall of shields between two giant boulders which flanked the twisting path at the top of the hill. Everyone was expecting the giant like figures of bearded Danes to fall on the refugees momentarily.

The prince of Ulvevstauwf, tears streaming down his cheeks, leapt from his horse, and swept his wife Althea into his embrace. He kissed her thoroughly; and then, kissed his son tossing him into the air. Prince Thomas heard the delighted squeals of his child, Samuel; quickly followed by a stern bellow of real authority. He looked up to see the Lord of Dumsauwf accompanied by sixteen men wearing the tartan of his clan each with a long two handled battle-sword strapped at their side, bronze shield on each left arm, and each carrying a small but deadly battle axe in his hand.

“There is great danger Prince Thomas, any minute the Danes will discover that we have fled, leaving an empty city. We can move no faster than the old folks can walk; thus we may soon be overtaken.”

They quickly moved the people up the hill and through the shield wall. The prince, the priest, and the twenty-three Thane-men gave up their horses; on which they mounted the elderly. This enabled them to make the cave in less than eight hours. This was the cave; where the prince’s band had sheltered the previous night. They had left the cave only about three and half hours before meeting the refugees.

Prince Thomas ordered Erick-op-Caleb to scout about an hour behind the refugee band. “Take the fastest horse. If the Danes should attempt to follow us, we need to know as soon as possible in order to prepare for attack. If you see them: try to get an estimate of their number, and then, withdraw. If possible, you need to return quickly without revealing your presence to the Danes.”

Prince Thomas watched Erick ride away before returning to the fire inside the cave. He interrupted his brother-in-law, Gawain, the Lord of Dumsauwf who was sitting with his wife. Lady Joan was holding their baby on her lap talking quietly and earnestly with her husband.

“My Lord Dumsauwf, when you can, I need you to join me. I need you to tell me privately, about the escape from the Danes;” the prince requested politely.

“Your highness,” Lord Dumsauwf began when they had walked a distance from the nearest sentry. “There were four long-boats in the first landing. The Danes disembarked; then they sat up camp on all four sides of the city. We counted eighty and eight of the tall bearded Danes. All the farming folk got into the city safely; and they brought plenty of food. We had three deep wells inside the city; however there was not enough trained men to mount an effective defense. Most of the people were terrified; because the average stature of the Danes is almost a foot greater than that of our taller warriors.”

“There was a growing number who simply wanted to open the gates and submit to the Danes;” Lord Dumsauwf continued. “That sentiment might have prevailed had not one of the deacons related what he had seen last year. The deacon had been to Erstaluf almost immediately after the Danes sacked it and sailed away; Erstaluf had surrendered but the deacon told how he arrived to find the bodies of every adult male. All the males had been murdered and mutilated. The Danes have come to spoil the people: take the women and children as slaves, steal the food stores and valuables, and slay the warriors, Christian priests, deacons, and monks.”

Prince Thomas interrupted the narrative, "How much time did you have to prepare before the Danes arrived?"

“Fortunately for us, the long-boats with their dragon prowls and sails marked by the witches-claw had been sighted far out at sea. Before the Danes could beach their boats, the freemen had loaded their wagons down with: wives, children, food, and treasure. All the country people hurried to get inside the city’s palisade; but, unfortunately, only a very few of them have any experience with weapons of war.” Lord Dumsauwf continued; “I distributed what extra weapons we had to the most likely of the men; before I sent a carrier dove to the King’s castle outside Glastonbury.” The Lord of Dumsauwf paused for breath.

“The terror inside the walls continued to build while everyone prayed to God for a miracle. The Danes were behaving strangely; and in a manner contrary to their past actions. They did little, at first; but encircle the city. Then three days after the first four long ships’ arrival; the watch tower sighted eight more sails on the horizon. This group was made up of four more long-ships and four wide beam freight ships; they beached their boats two days later. We realized then that the Danes were not here to raid, but rather to steal our lands and make a permanent settlement;” his hands and voice trembled with the emotions felt by the Lord of Dumsauwf.

“Then we may have gotten our miracle; the Danes dragged goatskin bladders of mead in great quantities from their ships. They proceeded to have a drunken naked orgy lying with their wives and slave women in the open sight of the townspeople while getting roaring drunk. Many fights broke out between drunken Danes; who for the most part, were fighting over the women. The only violent deaths so far have been from those fights; and not a few of the fights, we saw end in blood. About two hours past midnight yesterday there were no sober Danes; at least not sober enough to be able to walk. None were moving on the side of the wall nearest the forest. We got everyone together, opened the postern gate, and ran into the woods. We walked until we encountered you.”

“How many did you have to leave behind?” Prince Thomas asked.

“Not all of the elderly survived; but everyone made it to the woods. I suppose even if we are caught and murdered, God did give us a miracle. Blessed be His Holy Name!” The Lord of Dumsauwf bowed his head in reverence.

 

Two-thousand anno Domini; The Age of Majority

 

Prince James awoke early on the morning of his eighteenth birthday; and rolled over wanting to enjoy another day of post graduation leisure by sleeping late.

“James wake up!” the wireless speaker over the bedroom door squalled loudly; the words were immediately followed by the laughter of his cousins Paul and Samuel. “You have an audience with the Emperor! He probably needs a new supervisor for the Neptunite Mines on Qualms Dum! Not much wine, women, or song there on that Penal Colony.” That was definitely Prince Samuel’s voice. The young Prince of Piedmont jumped from his bed. Suddenly wide awake, James remembered that this was the day for a most important appointment. The Prince of Piedmont had been formally summoned to appear before the Emperor.

Sam suddenly busted through the door, “What kind of trouble have you got us into?”

Although, James was not sure of the reason for his summons; he was certain that it had nothing to do with being in any trouble. “I do not know what manner of difficulty you may be facing. As for myself, the regency of the church ends this morning in my principality of Piedmont; perhaps, that is the reason that I have been summonsed. You, on the other hand, may have flirted with one too many of the Emperor’s serving-girls!”

Paul the other cousin walked into the room. “I think that the Emperor intends James to enter the Doctorate program and spend another six years studying to become a professor of applied mathematics in physics.”

James grimaced at the very thought of more study; he was tired of school. His main motivation now was a burning desire to really begin the adventure of life.

At the age of twelve, Prince James had been brought to the Imperial capital. This was immediately after his mother’s death and for the last six years, he had been the official ward of his uncle, the Emperor.

James had worked very hard in school, completing his studies in far less than the allotted time. He had graduated with honors from the Imperial War College, just eight days earlier. Most of the young noblemen in his classes had been in their early twenties. Only one student in twenty actually succeeded in earning the coveted degree: Master of Military Science. St. Albert’s Imperial War College is the strictest school in the known universes; but, James had graduated laurel cum laud just eight days previous.

The two cousins, Sam and Paul have long been James’ closest friends. They have always treated him as a younger brother. Both cousins are older, and both graduated together a year ago. One of them, Prince Samuel, viscount of Dumsauwf, had already assumed many duties as an officer and chief minister under his father Prince Boaz of Liandudauf.

Prince Paul a full two years older than Samuel had taken a full five years to complete his degree from S. A. I. W. C. Paul’s studies had been interrupted several times by his father recalling him to Ulvevstauwf. An armistice had been in effect for three years; but, the activities of a Pagan-Assaer alliance continued to threaten the frontier planets of Ulvevstauwf.

Paul was the only son of Prince Jessie of Ulvevstauwf. In spite of the difference in their ages the three cousins had developed a comradeship unique even among their class-mates. During Paul and Samuel’s last two years, in the evenings after class hours, the three had gathered to share tall tales, and the adventures of young men coming of age. Although in the case of Prince Samuel, James figured that the tales he related were a mixture of a few facts and a lot of fantasy.

The Sylvania Empire has been ruled by the descendents of the house of David the son of Jessie for almost two thousand years. It has been one thousand-nine hundred and eleven years of nearly constant war and expansion. Most of the males born to the Imperial House have been slain in battle or assassinated. There are few direct descendents living today and only five are in the direct line of succession to the Emperor. The five include the brother of Baldwin IV: Prince Jessie of Ulvevstauwf, Jessie’s son Paul (Viscount of Whithorn), Prince Boaz of Liandudauf (the Emperor’s other living brother), Boaz’s son Samuel, and Prince James of Piedmont the orphaned son of Arthur-son of-Joseph-son of-David the deceased former crown prince. There is a sixth male still living: George, son of-Baldwin-son of-David, has been convicted of treason and forfeited his right to the purple; so had the three estates and the Emperor declared his case. No one publicly admitted to any knowledge of the where-about of that disgraced and exiled prince.

 

****

 

Chapter 1: Prince James, the 18th Birthday:

 

The Official History of the Founding of the Empire

 

The last ancestors of the Sylvanian noble families had been uprooted from Palestine during the year preceding Jerusalem’s fall to the Roman Titus. They had escaped the encircling Roman armies by hiding in the Judean hills, before taking ship to Britanie. The apostle Joseph of Arimathea had landed almost thirty-six years before them, in 34 A.D. St. Joseph, the cousin of the Virgin Mary, and the missionaries who accompanied him had established the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church beyond the Pillars of Hercules.

St. Joseph and the missionaries who accompanied him had preached the resurrection of Jesus Christ among the Jewish Colonist in Britanie. Britanie included the areas known in later centuries as: Great Britain, Ireland, Normandy, and Brittany. These new refugees from Judea went first to where St. Joseph had established a base at a place known in Earth’s first century after Christ, as Glastonbury. Glastonbury is located at the head of the Moors. It was from Glastonbury that St Colombo later went to found a monastery and missionary center in the Holy Isle.

St. Joseph had preached to the Jews; who had lived for many years in Britanie. Those converted to Christianity became the nucleus of what scholars would later label the Celtic Catholic Church. St. Joseph turned to the gentiles; and, soon converted many of the native Celts and Bretons to Christ.

The first two hundred years after the establishment of the Celtic Catholic Church was a time of constant danger. The Christians of Britanie, especially those on the North and the Irish Seas were under constantly attack by pagan North men. It was during one of these invasions; that hundreds of people including several priests and their families were running for their lives into the forest. The local king a descendant of Joseph-op-David, three of his sons, and the families of two nobles were with the Bishop of Glastonbury and a number of priests. They were closely pursued by the pagan Norsemen. The Christians ran or stumbled along a path toward a fortified town. They were running with difficulty because of a moonless night. Suddenly, the fleeing Christians found themselves illuminated in a shaft of light. They quickly found them-selves safely transport, by God’s predestine grace, to a strange world.

Prince James’ ancestors, along with a number of priests, a few of the king’s retainers, with their families were transported together arriving the same place. The world, on which they found themselves, was one of many worlds, all inhabited by a race of space traveling alien creatures. Terrified they first supposed these creatures to be demonic because of their strange appearance. The creatures had no visible skin; instead a hard outer shell surrounded the soft tissues of their three segmented bodies. Their heads had a fiercely frightening appearance with two large sharp teeth protruding like harvest sickles one on each side of their mouth openings. The creatures are not unlike (in appearance) the earth insects commonly called ants. They call themselves Assaer; as do their human allies. Unlike the ants of earth, they walk upright on their two rear-most appendages. The two pairs of appendages above their abdomens are each equipped with grasping finger like digits; including one which is an opposing digit. These Assaer live in colonies or cities with only one mother. Except for the city’s mother, all productive members of their society are sexually undeveloped females between five and six feet tall and weighing one-hundred to one hundred-thirty pounds. The very few males leave the colony of their birth early to find and mate with the mothers of other cities. The young Assaer-larva, from the time it hatches from its egg, is fed a diet containing hormones. It is by this means that they develop their specialized shapes; some for fighting and others for specialty work purposes.

The Assaer have a social consciousness, which includes a collective mind. They also possess a highly developed self consciousness. This unlikely combination has produced a race that can think and reason; while remaining in great need of their telepathic links to each other.

They are very concerned with what we (humans) call the great questions of life. They are capable of co-operative effort; and, possess multi- jointed digits at the ends of their four upper arms. These digits allow them to invent, develop, and manufacture complex machinery including transporters and space-craft. These machines travel at such high rates of speed as to seem almost instantaneous, across vast expanses not merely from star to star, but from universe to universe.

Transporters are first set in place on new worlds, by advance parties who use space-craft for interplanetary propulsion. Once assembled, the transporters allow the Empire of Sylvania to move large quantities’ of goods and persons across the vast fields of space, from one inhabitable world to another. The Assaer ability to link to the social mind of the colony has made possible the solving of complex scientific problems in the fields of physics and mathematics. The pooling and sharing abilities of the collective mind has enabled them to utilize their knowledge to an extent impossible to minds that are only ego-centric.

The Assaer perceive human speech and thoughts in their minds; and, although telepathic, often use mechanical devices to converse with humans and other intelligent species. They have an innate curiosity about existence beyond death. Their ancient myths had foretold that mysterious creatures led by noble beings ‘the sons of David’ would one day bring them understanding and the key to eternal life. They quickly converted to the Celtic Catholic Faith of the creatures, who their machines snatched from the Britannic woods sometime around eighty-nine anno Domini. The Sylvanian Assaer are now committed Christians, firmly believing that by serving the sons of David they fulfill the Divine purpose. They have faith in a continual spiritual growth as they receive the revealed word of God and the Sacraments. This is a complex relationship between David’s descendants and the Assaer alien race. The Assaer loyalty is unshakable not to humanity in general; but, to the Imperial family. This is the reason for the current great concern that a Dynasty, so reduced by war, could disappear. The disappearance, if it should occur, might bring to an end over twenty centuries of partnership between the Assaer and the human race. There was additional information given to the princes and other human nobility being educated at the military institute. The information related above is the sanitized official version. The more complete histories are preserved in the many discs and books of the Imperial Library and the students at St. Albert’s Imperial War College were all invited to study the Chronicles for themselves. The sheer volume of Sylvanian history makes such a task a daunting one.

 

Prince James Recalls His Basic Education

 

Prince James’ cousins left and returned to their quarters to dress for the Imperial Court. James hurried to shower, shave, and change into the military dress uniform of a cadet from the Imperial War College. There were no medals on the chest or chevrons on the shoulders; just, the simple bar of a cadet officer of the Army of the Sylvania Empire. A simple crown embroider was on the breast pocket of his shirt.

James turned at the sound of a foot step behind him. The young woman standing there was a vision of loveliness even in the rather drab uniform of an imperial domestic. “Sir, please allow me to hold a mirror for you;” her hair was a blond shade almost brown in the light coming through the windows. She stopped her cleaning to take a hand mirror from its hook on the wall; and held it behind James’ head.

Prince James had been raised in the severe religious atmosphere of the court. He had been shocked to the core; when at age fourteen; his sixteen year old cousin Sam informed James that babies were not brought to their parents by the angels.

James then received his early sex education from listening to Sam. He thought now of Sam’s boasting tales of adventures with Imperial serving girls; James felt something akin to shame at his own virginity.

James had to smile as he thought of Paul, his cousin by blood; but in reality, more like his big brother. Paul, four years older than James, is both athletic and very intelligent. He is always ready to answer serious questions; and, quick to reinforce James’ good moral inclinations. Following the angel conversation with Sam, James asked Paul, “Is Sam right, well… I know he must be…about angels and babies?”

James’ smile faded, replaced by a blush, as he remembered with a great deal of embarrassment asking that particular question. Paul had obviously fought back a grin; but he got himself under control before replying to James, “You really have led a sheltered life. I see that your priestly tutors have neglected an important part of your education.”

Over the next few days Paul and the Rev. Roister tutored James in male—female anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, the difference between moral and immoral sexual relations, and even an introduction to being a responsible parent.

James knew that his cousin, Prince Samuel, was not irreligious. In his own way, Sam was very devout. Unlike Prince James, Sam a twenty year old prince was never seen nodding off during the sermons at morning or evening prayer. James’ smile broadened at the unbidden thought; “my cousin Sam is just not one to allow anything to get in the way of a good time.”

Sam soon heard about the special tutoring James was receiving and wished to help. Being a hands-on guy, he thought a practical demonstration would teach James how the gift of second sight could be used to stimulate emotional and hormonal responses in others, an especially helpful aide in seducing women. The previous year, before Sam left for Liandudauf, they had taken almost a month to test out the unique abilities. Abilities they shared with the other princes of the House of David. Sam tried to teach James how to use the gift in a practical way to manipulate the brains of those whose co-operation was desired or needed.

During a few off duty hours each day they would set in a shady spot on the courtyard near their barracks. It was a strategic place, where the heavy foot traffic was composed mostly of the women of the Imperial Household’s Domestic Staff. The princes would stop the women; those who spent their days doing the cleaning and refurbishing work, one or two women at a time. There were literally hundreds of women crossing the court yard; who performed the tasks necessary to keep the imperial household and military college, functioning properly.

All ages of women were accosted and engaged in conversation. It would take only a few minutes for Sam to have any woman panting, sweating, and sighing with desire. James watched his cousin with awe as a red flush would spread down each woman’s neck and over the exposed tops of her breast. Sam could achieve this without doing more than lightly touching a hand or sometimes just a blouse sleeve while concentrating on reading and altering the woman’s emotions.

Prince James tried but was not able to achieve those changes in emotion; and had only very small success in producing any response. Most of the women James spoke with were polite but clearly annoyed at being detained. Prince Samuel realized that a more open direct instruction was needed. However, he was unwilling to risk offending his uncle or incurring his father Prince Boaz’s wrath. Prince Samuel had to return to Dumsauwf to check the progress of the regiment Baron Ebert was training from the County Dumsauwf. The regiment would be the first recruited entirely from the younger sons of free men. Some of the young men did not wish to be farmers, priest, or craftsmen; and they were glad to take the coin of Prince Boaz and seek adventure as Christian warriors.

When Prince Samuel returned from the visit to his fiefdom of Dumsauwf; it was to answer the Emperor’s summons and to attend the graduation of James from the St. Albert Imperial War College. He wanted to surprise James with a more enlightening and entertaining approach to the ignorance of his cousin.

The first evening on the day of his return to court, Prince Samuel brought a young woman to James’ room. The girl appeared to be a few years older than Prince Samuel; she was very pretty. Her auburn hair was worn loose hanging almost to her waist; but she was obviously ill at ease. “This is Liana; she is from a tributary planet on the frontier of the Principality of Liandudauf. Liana is my slave girl; she was a gift to me from the Baron Ebert. The baron wishes to ingratiate himself with me. He hopes to be allowed to lead an army of his vassals in the next campaign against the neighboring Hellebore;” Sam said, speaking in a matter of fact way.

“You and I could get into a lot of trouble for giving too much attention to any one of the Emperor’s servant-girls; however Liana is my chattel. I am going to try to teach you how to raise any woman’s libido and drive away her inhibitions. For the males of our family, there should be no such thing as a frigid woman. The gift of reading and stimulating responses is an ability that all of David’s sons possess.”

James carefully followed Sam’s instructions: Touching the sleeve of Liana’s blouse, he began to withdraw from the consciousness of his physical surroundings. Prince James focused his mind on Liana, now sitting, uneasily, between him and Sam on a bench in James’ bedroom. Sam spoke to Liana, “Allow Prince James to hold your hand.”

“Harkening and obeying, my lord;” Liana obeyed, reluctantly giving her hand to James.

Suddenly James could see the emotions inside her mind. They appeared as filaments of color, for the most part, behind her forehead. “Sam, I see tiny moving squiggly lines, swirls, or pin-wheels of yellow, green, blue, gray, and several shades of red”; James murmured softly.

“The grey is fear; while the yellow is roughly the emotion of contentment or peace. The green is lethargy or rest. The blue is desire and longing. The red colors can be indicative of many extreme emotions”; Sam said. “The burgundy-red indicates hatred, extreme lust, or the love of fanatical devotion. You should try to focus on moving that red-burgundy and the blue swirl right to the front just above her eyes. James, try to think of the burgundy-red and blue moving to line up with the center of her forehead right at the top of her nose; that will stimulate the release of hormones raising her libido.”

Prince James began to imagine that he was gently bumping the swirls, while thinking of where he wished them to be. The blue and red-burgundy slowly moved to an alignment just above Liana’s eyes on the axis of her nose. James began to discern some of her thoughts: including deep longing sighs, just there in her mind, not audible to his ears. James smelled the faint scent of perspiration and musk, as a flush of pink spread from her neck and down her breasts.

Liana squirmed restlessly, looking at Sam with begging eyes that James could see were full of need. Timidly unable to resist, she grasped Sam’s right hand; Liana pulled Sam’s hand up and under her skirt to the inside of her thigh. Sam laughed, “That is just how you do it James; but, you will have to get your own woman. Liana loves me with a deep devotion. I have taken carnal knowledge of her. Although you can bring her to a lusty heat; Liana is a virtuous woman. She transferred the desire you kindled to me, her lover. Now you understand how to use this gift. You will learn more by using it. Eventually it will be so natural you will no longer be conscious of the colors inside the minds of your subjects; and it will become a natural function, like breathing. The gift will make it possible to cement the friendship and loyalty of your male vassals as well as the love of your women.”

Sam turned his attention to Liana, “Come with me, my love, we will soon find love and release in my bedroom. I do not choose to tempt my cousin with you, any further.”

“Yes, my lord,” she whispered. Liana looked up at Prince Samuel; James could see that her eyes were shining with anticipation, love, and desire as she hurriedly rose, following her master through the door, and away from James’ room.

 

The Readers of the Chronicles

 

Clara marveled again at the feeling she was living in the history unfolding all around her. She could even smell the scents of the cave and the evergreen trees on the cold slopes of the hills in long ago West Marc. Clara risked Jessie's displeasure, pausing the v-r-reader for a moment; “my lord why is this called a reading rather than a viewing?”

Prince Jessie was glad for the pause; there was an ache in his leg from the bending and stretching. “Come here little darling and rub this lotion on my legs; and I’ll explain.” He handed a container of camphor, turpentine, cacti, and methanol to Clara.

While she applied the unguent Jessie explained: “My ancestors were originally Judean Disciples of Jesus Christ. After the conversion to Christianity of the Celts of Britanie, they desired to conform to the Holy Scriptures, which originally consisted only of the Old Testament. The church of the first century, in all places forbade any sexual relations between men and women with in the degrees of blood. This cannon law was according to the law God gave in Leviticus. By the end of one hundred and fifty years even the royal house descended from David was more Celt, Breton, Frank, and Norse than Judean. The Celts were very strongly influenced by a worship of the creator through thanksgiving for natural gifts and the beauties of nature. When things were considered in totality, by Celtic people, the situation was said to be read. Also when a prophet spoke and revealed hidden things by God’s gift he was said to be reading the future, the situation, hidden meanings, or the mystery of faith. When we see the chronicles, we also hear the speech, we hear the thoughts by Assaer revelation from the telepathic common mind; we perceive or read. Therefore you and I are today readers of those Chronicles from the year eighty and six Anno Domini.”

The Flight from Dumsauwf: Eighty and Six Anno Domini

 

Erick-op-Caleb returned at first light and reported to Prince Thomas; “The Danes followed to the top of the hill from which we first saw the refugees. Danes are seamen and do not very much care to climb stony hills. I believe they do not like to be any great distance from their long-boats. When they could not see us from the hill top; they turned back toward Dumsauwf.”

Prince Thomas dispatched scouts ahead and behind the refugee band. The threat in the north must be met and his father would need every man if the kingdom was to be saved. When the Thane-men were sufficiently rested; the prince sent Roderick-op-Geoff, the second best scout on ahead to seek additional horses and a litter for an elderly woman who was now unable to cling to a horse. It was action typical only of Christians, Alfred thought; this concern and respect for an old woman. The pagans would have thought her a danger to the clan and deserted her.

The band made only half the distance the next day. Lord Dumsauwf had been scouting the flank and rode back to where the Prince was walking with his wife. Only those warriors scouting were riding horses; all the young and healthy were walking except for Lady Dumsauwf and the miller’s wife; as they had both recently given birth.

Princess Althea’s feet were blistered. She was holding on to the wood saddle of her sister Eriona’s mount; her husband Prince Thomas was carrying their son. Althea listened as her sister’s husband Lord Dumsauwf spoke to the prince; “Your highness, the light will be gone in an hour. The scouts have found a cavern just off the trail ahead. There is an opening inside the narrow entrance which opens into a chamber with an even larger chamber beyond. The cavern seems to wind much deeper into the mountains. There is a narrow fissure above the large chamber that will draw smoke away. Should I have my clansmen begin to gather wood for a fire? Our wives are very weary and the horses can shelter in that smaller chamber to the front of the main chamber. The entrance to the cavern is sufficiently wide for the horses to be led inside; but narrow enough to be easily defended. The cavern is dry; but there is a spring beyond the large chamber. The spring feeds a small branch which disappears under a large boulder. The spring water is clear and good.”

Prince Thomas did not hesitate, “The older folk are about to fall off the horses; and my father’s Thane-men are foot sore. Let’s stop while day light remains for gathering the wood and grass for the horses.  We can build a nice fire, big enough to warm everyone. The smoke escaping through the fissure should blend with the evening fog on the mountain top. Hopefully we can get an early start in the morning. Alfred knows the evening prayer office by heart and can lead us from memory. We need to thank God for delivering our wives and children from the Danes.”

The meager rations that the Thane-men had carried with them were exhausted except for a little flour and some salt. Luckily the scouts had killed a number of hares; and, one small deer had fallen to the bow of Alfred. There would be enough for a few mouthfuls of meat for everyone including double portions for Eriona and the Miller’s wife as they each have babies to nurse.

 

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Chapter 2: 2000 Anno Domini: The Infatuation

 

Prince James heard a beautiful melodious voice, “You have such a wonderful smile; but you are frowning, now. Is the mirror I’m holding in a bad position?”

James snapped out of his day dream, and looked at the young woman holding the mirror. “No, my frown had nothing do with the mirror; I was lost in a day-dream that had a frustrating ending.” James’ eyes swept over her; he noticed her clean and pretty face. Blushing he noticed the outline of her body under her blouse and skirt. This was not his first time to be aware of an arousal; but, the prince could feel: the warmth, the stiffness, and swelling in his phallus. James’ heart was fluttering like a butterfly in his chest. He felt an overwhelming desire to embrace the young woman.

Prince James recalled that earlier, when the girl had come into the room; she had curtseyed and said, “Your highness, my name is Aniela, I have been assigned, just this morning, to clean your room and assist you.”

“Aniela, please put this away,” Prince James said handing the brush to her. James caught her hand, as she took the brush, and pulled her close; a bit surprised that she did not seek to escape his embrace. A second surprise, James could see that a swirl of blue and dark burgundy-red was already aligned at the center of her mind. “You are very beautiful,” Prince James murmured; and then he kissed Aniela awkwardly. Before she could turn away, James caressed her butt.

Prince James was startled, actually shocked, when Aniela pressed into his kiss and opened her mouth to welcome his probing tongue. Her kisses were sweet arousing him to heights he had never before experienced. James pulled Aniela closer; his right hand found the way through the slit at the left side of her skirt. James’ slid his hand up her leg and slipped his fingers under her panties, gently stroking the soft curly hair about her Venus mons. Aniela gave a soft moan, smothered by his kiss, and shifted slightly, pressing the folds of her vulva against his fingers. Even a shy awkward young prince knew that Aniela was clearly inviting even more intimate attention. The scent of her filled him with lust. Blinded by desire, for the moment, Prince James forgot caution and his appointment with the emperor; gently drawing her back towards the edge of his bed.

Aniela almost fell; when Prince James suddenly released her just short of the bed. “Darn!” he exclaimed to Aniela, “You are the desire of my heart, but my love; it is time… I must report to the Emperor.” Aniela could sense his sincerity; and she heard the genuine regret in the tone of his voice.

If the prince left her now, Aniela was afraid; that Prince James might never return to her. Aniela sensed his inexperience and instinctively knew what she must do. She moved to James boldly, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. Gently, Prince James embraced Aniela, and intimately fondled her again before withdrawing his hand from her skirt. He slowly stepped back; “Aniela, I must obey the emperor’s summons; will you be here when I return?”

Blushing, Aniela whispered, “O yes my Prince!” She had done all a girl could do to show him her desire. Aniela was feeling giddy with the hope; that somehow, Prince James would find the courage to ask the Emperor for a gift of one slave girl from Syclic-Orison.

Emperor Baldwin had publicly announced that he would not undergo another rejuvenation treatment. In the three years since that announcement the four-hundred plus Imperial bond-women of child bearing age had been completely ignored by the Emperor. Baldwin spent all of his time with his wife Princess Margareta of Urbana. The church had given official permission; and, the Emperor had married all sixty of his childless concubines off to freemen retiring from military service. There was a myth, circulating among the bond-women: “the Emperor would give any of his bond-women to any Imperial Prince asking for them.” Aniela did not know; but in truth, the rumor was mostly idle gossip. Without several hundred women Baldwin’s stewards would find it impossible to maintain the Imperial palace. The emperor found it necessary to keep sufficient women for the efficient operation of the War College barracks as well as the Imperial Residences.

Aniela did realize that it was extremely unlikely that she could escape a lonely and loveless life in Imperial Service. She had begged Rachel, her friend from Syclic-Orison to try and get her an assignment to the barracks of Prince James of Piedmont.

Rachel had teased her mercilessly, “Aniela is infatuated with a little boy prince”. Actually everyone knew that today was the prince’s eighteenth birthday. In the Sylvanian Empire, that made James a legal adult, old enough to rule his late father’s principality in his own right.

Early that morning, Aniela had jumped for joy, while writing her reassignment into her day journal. She had been too excited to eat her breakfast. The duty board roister had revealed that Rachel had succeeded in getting her friend a three month assignment to clean the suite of Prince James.

Rachel’s own assignment for the past six months had been to maintain and clean the Prince’s clothes. She was officially his valet. Being of a shy disposition Rachel had carefully stayed in the background.

As a child, Rachel had expected to be married to some noble near her father’s social station. After the war, she had reluctantly accepted the impossibility of being anything other than the neglected slave girl of an elderly and disinterested Emperor. Rachel had come to view the future with a measure of sadness. She saw only a lonely life; but a life which, she was determined to live with dignity.

Aniela quickly finished making the bed and dusting the prince’s suite; and then, she ran to find Rachel. “Rachel! Where are you Rachel?” She called loudly.

Rachel stepped out of the laundry room where she had been ironing one of the prince’s uniforms. “Try to slow down Aniela, take a few deep breaths, and tell me; why you are so excited. I bet you saw the Prince and your heart went pity-patty-pat-pat!” Rachel smiled at her friend’s enthusiasm; her smile taking the sting from her teasing.

“Truth to tell you, my heart is skipping,” Aniela bent close to Rachel’s ear dropping her voice three octaves to avoid being overheard. “I did more than see him. I held a mirror while he brushed his hair. Prince James grabbed my hand, pulled me into his embrace and kissed me thoroughly!” Aniela’s blush was a deep beet red.

Rachel looked at her gravely. “I do not wish to bust your bubble; but, you are the Emperor’s bond woman. You could be looking at a package deal that includes: a swift trip to some very cold world and a marriage to a man old enough to be your grandfather. The man would be some rough freeman who only bathes for the New Year. There you will be made to work like a mule. Your husband will bury your poor dead body soon after you give birth to your fourth baby; which will be born less than five years after your marriage. Your fourth child will be born only eleven months after the birth of your third baby.” Rachel’s face betrayed her genuine concern for her younger friend.

Aniela colored as she remembered the touch of James’ fingers, the feel of his tongue probing her mouth, the excitement of his kisses, and the warmth of his embrace. “I could end up spending my life with the most handsome prince in the Empire;” Aniela snapped at her older friend. She was clearly hurt by Rachel’s attitude. “But even if everything you suggested came true; such a short life would be better than growing old, dying a bitter spinster-virgin, alone with no one to care for me. I will take my chances friend Rachel. Prince James can have anything in my power to give him regardless of the consequences!” Aniela burst into tears, “I know…I just know…Prince James is my destiny,” she sobbed; “either my happy ever after or the beginning of my worst nightmare.”

Prince James had run from his bachelor quarters; but quickly slowed; remembering, that he had no desire to appear wet with perspiration before his uncle. James tried in vain to clear his head of the vision of Aniela: her eager responses and the feel of her against his body.

When Prince James was not quite twelve years old, his mother had been killed during a surprise barbarian raid on the capital of Piedmont. An alarm had been raised too late to save the city; but faithful Assaer had carried the young prince through an escape tunnel to a transporter preset to the planet of Sylvanian, the Empire’s capital world.

His mother’s death had come less than a year after, the death of his father in the final battle of the war with the Syclic Alliance. That battle had ended in a great victory for the Christian Sylvania Empire; but, it had come at the great cost of the life of the Empire’s Crown Prince.

Prince James crossed the lawn in front of the Imperial Palace. He passed several large groups of Assaer most of them officers. He hurried past the Assaer on toward the palace’s main gate. James walked at a brisk pace past the guards on duty. Those guards regardless of rank saluted a young prince of David’s house. A squad of the Assaer city guards, double-timed past Prince James; clicking their mandibles as a sign of recognition as they hurried in the direction of the city armory.

Just ahead James saw his cousins Prince Paul and Prince Samuel waiting at the steps to the palace’s main entrance. “Are you ready to begin your doctoral studies?” Prince Samuel asked smiling broadly. Before James could think of a good reply for Paul and Samuel; an Imperial Assaer herald summoned them to the throne room.

 

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Chapter 3: The Princes’ Audience

 

All three princes were in military uniforms: Prince James wore the war college uniform of a graduate cadet officer. Samuel wore the uniform of a knight commander in the Liandudauf Army; and Paul wore the uniform of a lord-admiral of the Ulvevstauwf Principality’s Inter-planetary Navy.

The silence was almost oppressive within the vast hall. There was none of the usual ordered movement, the quite hum of conversation, and those other normal sounds typical of an Imperial Court Audience.

His Imperial Majesty Baldwin IV has ordered all the courtiers and politicians to depart. The princes saw the aged emperor sitting on a comfortable but simple chair. The emperor's chair was raised six inches above the floor but below the level of the golden throne on the dais behind him. On the right hand of the Emperor stood Edward an elderly Christian Bishop in a simple cassock made of coarse grey cloth.

There is a woman standing at Baldwin’s left hand; she is poised and strikingly beautiful. Her dress has simple but elegant lines, and on her head is a tiara of silver. She has a small recording device pinned to a slash about her waist. Margareta, the princess of Urbana, is the official recorder of the Imperial Court Chronicles. She is also the only wife of the Emperor, a confident, and a trusted advisor to Baldwin IV. Margareta is one of only two persons not of the dynastic blood-line that are permitted to speak without invitation and to share any thoughts on the business of the Empire with the Emperor. The other person with such a high privilege is the Patriarch of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church: Bishop Edward.

The stillness is broken by Baldwin’s voice as he makes a motion with his hand, “Let the princes’ approach.” Sam, Paul, and James silently approach their uncle, bending their heads in a reverence. “I have called you here to prepare each of you to undertake a mission for the Empire and the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

“You will be departing soon for your mission destinations. Your departures will be no later than sundown tomorrow. Two of you will be going to a world in danger; where the enemies of truth and the way of righteousness are attempting to overthrow the local civilization.”

The Emperor paused a few seconds and then continued, “Each one of you is the eldest surviving son of one of my brothers; you have been educated and prepared for governing this empire after my decease. James your late father and my two remaining brothers are true Christians; and the peace and unity of the Empire has not been broken by covetous princes struggling for selfish gain during our reign.”

“The Empire of Sylvania is a Christian Autocracy. Only one man can rule the Empire, but the other princes must help in carrying forth the manifest destiny of the people of God and the will of Christ’s one true Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” The Emperor paused before continuing, “Each of you must never forget the primary mission of the sons of David. That mission is to bring light to the darkened minds of fallen creatures; and, the commandments of the only Lord God and great Potentate Jesus Christ to every reasoning creature!”

James struggled to banish the thoughts of Aniela’s ripe body from his mind; as through a fog, he heard the voice of the Emperor. “These immediate assignments will show me if you possess the necessary traits of governance: righteous character, ability, devotion, and courage. All of these virtues are absolutely necessary to your success; whether you are an imperial prince ruling a prefecture or an emperor ruling the Empire. You have been educated in the sciences and the Holy Catholic Religion. You have each learned to use the special gift which God has given our house. Each one of you possesses that gift which allows insight into the mind of anyone close-by, of reading, and of stimulating emotional and hormonal responses in others.”

Prince James tried manfully to tame his imagination and focus on the voice of his uncle. “I will speak to each of you alone and then Bishop Edward will give you certain instruction which you are to follow explicitly. I will begin now with the youngest: James will remain for his interview. Samuel shall return for his interview in one hour; and, Paul shall come in two hours. Paul and Samuel are dismissed for now;” the Emperor raised his hand in dismissal. Paul and Samuel backed to the door; where, they did an about-face and hurried away from the throne room.

Outside the palace Paul turned to Sam, “I think a nap is the next thing in-order for me. I am still tired after the trip here from Moorefield.”

Sam smiled and asked, “How can strapping into a transporter seat and taking a ten minute nap be tiring?”

Paul gave a sad smile: “Seven months ago, my lea-woman had another miscarriage. Sahara has lost all four of the children that we conceived together, all by miscarriage. Now she has gone completely mad. My father insisted that I take another woman to my bed; but, I only desired Sahara. My father gave me several stern lectures about my duty to the dynasty. He recently sent me to Moorefield; with an army and orders to put down a rebellion. Part of the punishment of the rebel lords was to forfeit twenty-five percent of their unmarried daughters of child bearing age.”

Paul gave a tired smile, “I took one of the new slave-girls for my lea-woman. She converted to Christianity; and was baptized. I gave her the Christian name of Greta. She is very passionate and athletic; Greta has been wearing me out ever since. I think; that, I may be in love. One thing is for sure: I am physically and emotionally worn-out. I almost never think of Sahara anymore. Greta has made obeying my father’s command to procreate a joy and not a chore.”

Prince Samuel spoke soberly, “I am very sad at your loss both of the child and Sahara; but I am glad you have a new lea-woman. I am sure you will shortly find real happiness. The imperial worlds are full of beautiful women and most of them would love to please a handsome prince like you, James, or I.”

“My problem is just the opposite;” Sam continued, “I love all of my women. While you get some rest: I will try manfully to make a baby with the beautiful Liana; then, get a shower, and be back at court in under an hour!” Sam said all this with another broad grin.

Paul smiled despite himself at his cousin’s philosophy. “Good luck on the baby! I hope to see you later this evening after my interview. Then perhaps, we can compare notes with James.”

Prince Samuel rushed back to his barrack suite; he entered, calling loudly, “Liana, Liana; where is my beautiful woman?”

“I am here my lord;” Liana called, her voice was coming from his bedroom. “Did the Emperor have something of interest for you?”

“I’ll know when I report back to court in less than an hour;” Sam swept a privacy curtain aside and entered the room. Liana was sitting in the middle of the bed her legs folded, knees together, heels under her butt, and facing the door.

“You told me to be ready for love when you returned.” Liana smiled up at Sam; she had on a very short transparent camisole, that welcoming smile, and nothing else except for the ever present ankle bracelet engraved with her master’s signet. “How can I serve you my lord?” her voice was eager; and, her grin had turned positively impish.

Prince Samuel laughed with pleasure, “Are there any more like you at home? I just told Prince Paul that I was going to try to make a baby with my beautiful slave-girl, take a shower and be back in court all in less than an hour.”

Liana giggled, uncurled her legs, changing her position slowly. Liana carefully watched his reaction as she gave his eyes an unobstructed view of the curly auburn hair covering her Venus Mons. Liana licked her index finger and parted the outer folds of her labia while staring steadily at his arousal. “We can start as soon as you lose the trousers, my lord!”

 

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Chapter 4: Prince James is given stern lectures by the Emperor and the Patriarch

 

Prince James remained in a military at ease position as his cousins departed the throne room. He was surprised at what he had heard and wondered what task the Emperor would assign. James wondered how he or his cousins could possibly meet the high expectations of their uncle. He was only this day eighteen, and not sure if he possessed any ability. His uncle stood up, “James, you will follow Princess Margareta and the Patriarch.”

“Yes sir, your majesty” James said coming to attention and saluting sharply. He followed the princess as the bishop led the way. They crossed the hall of the throne room; and walked behind the dais, where James saw a number of doors in the north wall. The Bishop and Princess Margareta entered a smaller room through the third door from the north-east corner.

The room was comfortably furnished; it contained a table in the center. The Emperor’s firm voice belied his age, “Sit down.” When they were seated the Emperor, who followed James into the room gave him a stern look. “Bishop Edward, please ask God’s mercy, direction, and divine protection on my young nephew James’ and wisdom to carry forward his mission.”

Bishop Edward began, “Almighty God, Lord of all mercies: look upon young James, thy servant. Grant him, most gracious Lord, that he might be enlightened and endowed with wisdom beyond his years. We ask your protection, O Lord that James might have good success in the mission now given him for thy glory. And all of this we ask in the name of thy Son our Saviour, Jesus the Christ. Amen.”

After the prayer ended, Emperor Baldwin again looked at his young nephew; “James the mission, you will begin tomorrow evening, will require a lot of equipment and personnel; most of which is already staged at your destination. The empire has many properties on earth; and your destination is one we have owned for many years. You will be headquartered in one of our properties in Richmond, Virginia. The necessary supplies, not already there, will soon be dispatched to your base of operations. A few additional items and personnel will be ready immediately after Morning Prayer tomorrow.”

“The Imperial Princes are expected to set examples for their households and inherited subjects. You will do this by attending on public worship, both daily Morning and Evening Prayer and by showing a personal diligence to attend on all the means of grace. We hope that it is in your heart to do so; Piedmont and the Empire of Sylvania will prosper only to the extent that their princes possess true devotion to God and his One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

The Emperor’s voice grew even sterner, “I am sending you to Earth. Earth is the planet of origin for our family and our faith. But on Earth for over a century, the agnostics have been undermining the faith of the people; now the governments totter on the brink of social collapse. Although this began centuries ago it has now reached a critical stage. Some of the nations are already ruled by satanic agents from Hellsboro. This is the reason that many governments are acting contrary to their national interest and seem to be hell-bent on creating a one world anti-Christian government. The new order to be created cannot exist without the bloody suppression of all true Christianity. You will have the necessary knowledge imprinted in part here and the balance available after you arrive. You will be housed in a large building. That building is to be, initially, both your home and base of operations. A friend of Bishop Edward, one of your former tutors, will accompany you on your mission. In addition you must choose two of our bond-women from among the Imperial servants to be your domestics. Choose carefully for these will be your responsibility as well as your property. They are a part of my birthday gift to you.”

The Emperor paused as if to weigh my emotional response. “These women will be registered; making you responsible for them for the rest of their lives. You should choose one about your age and the other between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five. When you arrive at your destination, there will be other bond women already awaiting you; these women will also be your property and responsibility. James, you will understand the reason; why, I have given you so many women after talking with the Patriarch.”

The Emperor sighed, “General Rahbat of the Imperial General Staff will also travel with you; she will remain just a few days to help you get comfortable in your position as mission commander. The officers of the Piedmont brigade have sworn to protect your life at any cost. These officers have experience; almost all having previous deployments into your area of operation. They will give you a great advantage in dealing with our enemies. You must quickly adapt to your situation for the success of this mission. You must be diligent to learn your surroundings; and you must use knowledge, wisdom, good experienced council, and force, to overthrow the enemies of our Lord.”

Bishop Edward (Patriarch of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church) spoke as soon as the Emperor and Princess Margareta had walked out of the room; “Prince James, all of the words of Holy Scripture are breathed of God, infallible, and true. All your actions must begin, continue, and end in them; or the Lord God will not prosper you.”

Bishop Edward paused allowing me time to absorb the key place of the Holy Scripture relative to our race. “The articles of our faith declare that the Old and New testaments are of equal weight and authority.”

“The church is in a difficult place; we are forced to look to the Old Testament where we find today’s situations mirrored from every side and in every particular circumstance. This is because the ancient People of God experienced circumstances and situations; that in many ways are just like our own today. And remember, the Old Testament was the only source the Apostles had for instruction and inspiration. Every sermon found in the New Testament was rooted in text taken from the Old Testament!”

The patriarch chooses his words carefully, “The promise is to the House of David; and now most of our princes have fallen during two millennia of wars. The princes who practice the Holy Faith are the most important warriors not just of the Empire; but for all the People of God. Without our princes’ righteous leadership, the Assaer would lose heart. They would not fight or labor for those not of David’s House. They were converted to Christ because of prophecy, their own ancient prophecy, which stated: ‘the Sons of David will come to teach the Assaer, more perfectly, the way to Life Eternal’. The families of the Royal Ark have lived out their faith; thus the Assaer have continued to accept the teachings of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. By some miracle the Assaer know and recognize the sons of David. They cannot be deceived.”

Bishop Edward paused before continuing, “Your fore-father David had many women and had children by most of them. Yet the scripture says, ‘He was a man after God’s own heart’. You have an obligation not only to the Empire; but, to those women (who belong to you) to give them children as God enables and opens their wombs. The Empire has been reduced to five loyal—obedient scions of David; and only three in your generation are faithful men of David’s blood. This is fact; even though the dynasty began when David and his son Solomon had hundreds of children. The royal houses that descended from David on earth have fallen prey to the powers of evil. One nation’s King-in-waiting has boasted of his intention to refuse to take the ancient coronation oath to defend the True Holy Catholic Faith. Those families have rejected God; there is no help for us to be found among the royal families of earth. Our princes must remain faithful; or, Divine punishments will overwhelm our peoples. I am sending the Rev. Brother Roister with you. You may remember him from the military mathematics and tactics class he taught at St. Albert’s Institute. He has agreed to be the priest of your household; and is also a happy warrior of the priest-militant. The Rev. Roister is both a deeply spiritual priest and a gifted-experienced military officer. He will now go with you to your quarters.”

Brother Roister+ appeared as soon as James and the Patriarch began to cross the courtyard. “O brother Roister,” the Bishop called, “Go with our young Prince and get his household ordered for tomorrow.” He handed the priest a folder; and said, “Inside are the forms for two of the Emperor’s slave women. The forms are for two women; which, James is commanded to choose from among the Emperor’s household servants. They are to be made his chattels and will require a legal registry.”

 

****

 

Chapter 5: A Prince’s Choice

 

Eighty and Six Anno Domini: Shelter in a Cavern

 

There was soon a roaring fire beneath the roof fissure and as they had foreseen the smoke was drawn up to the roof by the draft created by cooler night air outside the fissure. Althea noticed her little son, Samuel, pulling his cloak tighter and shivering. She picked him up and tucked her own cloak around them both. “It will be so warm soon you may wish to remove your cloak and make a pillow out of it,” she told him. Althea wanted to call her husband to have him take her hand and make all of her fears vanish; but, she saw he was busily moving about setting his father’s Thane-men to various tasks. Prince Thomas dispatched some of those from Dumsauwf, men and boys that were lightly armed to gather more firewood; and he ordered them to find materials to get the women and children off the cold floor of the cave. Somehow Althea knew that Thomas would protect them and get them all safely to Glastonbury.

There was not much available for making beds for sleeping; so, branches were cut from near the bottom of the evergreen trees. They carefully only cut branches from trees growing on the side of the hill furthest from the trail between Glastonbury and West Marc. The bottom branches were dry when cut from inside near the bottom of the larger conifers. They made layers of crisscrossed branches on which to lie down. This would give them some cushioning from the hard stones of the cold cave floor. The horses were hobbled and allowed to forge a short distance from the cave for an hour before being driven inside and given a small quantity of grass. Grass that the women and children had gathered carefully under the protective gaze of those Thane-men not engaged in sentry duty.

The meat was cooked on spites cut from the hardy hard-wood scrub which grew near the cavern. Alfred asked God’s grace and they carefully divided the food in equal portions between all the folk; no difference in portions was made between gentlefolk and the freemen farmers and their families. Only the Lady Eriona and the Miller’s wife, both with new-born babies to nurse, received double portions. They had used half the remaining salt in preparing the meager meal. They had at least two days to go at their current rate of travel. It appeared that there would only be one more meal with salt, for seasoning any meat; that they were able to procure.

The next morning they were awakened by Erick-op-Caleb. He had risen before dawn; pushing on toward East-marc. Just an hour’s ride from the cavern there was a firth which rose among the hills of the interior. Heading toward Dumsauwf, Prince Thomas and the Thane-men had forded that stream on the rocky ridge where the firth dropped three feet in a water fall before continuing toward the North Sea.

They had a stout rope which they planned to tie to trees on both banks for the elderly to grasp while crossing.

Erick dismounted and strode immediately to where Prince Thomas and Lord Dumsauwf were standing. He began to speak gesturing with his hands in great animation; forgetting even to reverence the Prince. “There is a long-boat beached,” Erick’s voice was barely audible, “just below the shallow crossing where we had thought to ford. It is the boat of a Norse Ring-giver; and that boat has a red cross as the device on its sail.”

Prince Thomas spoke quickly upon hearing that the sail bore a red cross; “the Christian prince of Kent has sent an embassy to the High King Stephen, lord of the Christian Grouts, to seek an alliance against the Danes. The ship could be one belonging to the Norse-Grouts.”

Erick spoke, “I rode to the top of the Craig where the beacon fire is kept laid. I could see three sails coming up the firth the sails were striped with dye and had a large pagan device in the center. I could not be certain but I think the device is The Crow’s Claw of the Witch.”

Lord Dumsauwf spoke quickly, “We do not have enough men to aid the Norse Christians. Yet it is our duty to warn them; let Erick have a fresh mount and one for me as well. Unless they have a warrior who speaks the Britannic tongue; I will have to communicate by drawing.”

The prince and Alfred the priest had walked over to hear the scout’s report; “It is our duty to Christ,” Alfred said nodding consent to the words of Lord Dumsauwf.

 

****

Seeking Aniela: 2000 Anno Domini

 

Aniela left Rachel with her friend's warning echoing in her mind; and ran back to Prince James' apartment. She paused in front of the wall mounted mirror; “Right here,” she said softly, “I did not dream, he kissed me right here! There hangs the hand mirror that I held.” She had held a hand mirror behind his head, while the prince was brushing his hair.

“All I really wanted all my life was a man to love and to be loved by that man. A man who would love, protect me, and conceive a baby with me. Someone I could love and trust;” Aniela realized suddenly that she was speaking aloud and crying at the impossibility of achieving her dreams. She was in love, hopelessly in love, with a nephew of the Emperor of a thousand worlds. Rachel was right; she needed to dry her eyes and ask to be reassigned. She could be like Rachel; she would lose herself in her work. She was the Emperor’s bondwoman; and that would have to be dignity and life enough.

Aniela walked out the door of the barracks and went back to her room. She would wash her face; no one would know she had been crying.

Arriving back at his room with the Rev. Roister, Prince James saw no sign of Aniela. “There is a young woman working in the barracks that I wish to choose for my lea-woman;” James told his chaplain.

“I am not surprised;" the priest replied. "You are certainly of the age to be noticing the charms of the fairer sex. Young men, of your age, often find themselves strongly attracted to certain specific young women.”

His new pastor spoke to the domestic supervisor: “summons all the women who do the household chores. Have them to assemble in the barracks’ mess hall.”

The prince walked with his chaplain to the mess hall. The supervisor sent a woman to make them each a cup of tea. It took several minutes before the women started coming into the room. James could not drink his tea; his mind raced with excitement as he remembered Aniela’s response to his kisses. James thought of how she had responded to his more intimate caresses. She had obviously wanted him to take even more intimate liberties.

Time seemed to drag for James as they waited; until the women could be assembled. Finally, the room began to fill up; all of the women were wearing the same modest imperial household uniform. Because they had been called unexpectedly from their duties, some of the women were less presentable than others. The Rev. Roister spoke loudly so that all the women could hear. “Prince James has been ordered to choose two of you for his household.”

There was a buzz of excited chatter as the supervisor told the women to form a line and prepare to pass in front of the prince. Prince James saw no sign of Aniela. He turned to order the supervisor of the women, to have Aniela summonsed at once. James had just opened his mouth to speak to the woman; when Aniela came through the door. When James saw Aniela his heart filled with happiness and desire. He called out to her over the noisy chatter, “Aniela, please come to me.”

A startled Prince James saw fear pass like a cloud over Aniela’s face. She walked to him; but, her lip trembled like she might cry. “I did not intend to offend you my prince,” she said; “my heart and immaturity have betrayed me.”

“You have not given offence,” Prince James replied, “I am to choose two of the Emperor’s serving women for my household. My choice is made at the Emperor’s command. I have chosen you; is there one of the other women whose company you enjoy? She must be about twenty-five years of age.”

James had noticed Aniela talking to a slightly older but very beautiful woman with jet black hair and blue eyes. He had heard her call the woman’s name earlier as he was leaving for court. ‘Rachel,’ James remembered, ‘she is the woman who takes care of my wardrobe; and has the general duties of my valet.’

Aniela’s face lit up as she realized Prince James had chosen her over of all the other women in the room. “It is not my place to give advice to my prince,” she spoke softly suddenly shy. When Prince James nodded encouragement, Aniela asked, “How do you like, Rachel, the woman who cares for your clothes? We are from the same village and are good friends.”

Prince James saw adoration shinning from Aniela’s eyes and dominating her mind. Prince James turned to his pastor, speaking formally, as he had been taught; “Brother Roister, as the Emperor has commanded me: I wish to register Aniela-of-Syclic and Rachael-of-Syclic as my lea-women.”

The Rev. Roister opened the folder in his hand and asked both women to spell their names. When their names had been recorded; the supervisor of the women and the chaplain signed as witness and Prince James as their conservator. The prince turned to his women, “Rachael and Aniela go to your quarters, return quickly with the calendars of your cycles, your toiletries, clothes, and any other necessary things.”

“Harkening and obedience,” Rachel and Aniela replied. They ran to their rooms; where both women quickly gathered up their clothes, day journals and toiletries. They returned quickly, dazzled by their good fortune; but both were fearful that the young prince might change his mind.

The Rev. Roister had summonsed a clerk. The Assaer clerk inventoried and added the women’s clothes and personal care items to the list of supplies being provided by the Emperor.

The supervisor of the palace women was called again; “Make the necessary arrangements for Aniela and Rachael to be given the room in my suite beside my bedroom. Please refurnish that room for my lea-women's comfort.”

The supervisor curtseyed and left just as the chimes began to sound the Hour of Eve Song. Prince James remembering the Emperor’s advise asked the Chaplain, “Sir would you allow us to make our general confessions and receive the sacrament?”

“Gladly your highness,” the priest raised his voice and spoke to the entire assembly. “Everyone whose duties permit may come to the chapel; therefore examine your own heart; so as to worthily receive that Holy Mystery.” In the chapel across from the barracks The Lord’s Supper was soon laid upon the Holy Table. His two lea-women sat with Prince James in the front pew before the communion rail. James was tempted, a bit distracted, as he repeatedly caught them looking at him from the corners of their eyes. Both women’s faces were radiant and they could not stop smiling. But Prince James applied himself to prayer and felt blessed in the Communion.

When Prince James and his lea-women returned to the barracks, they found that a room had been furnished for Rachael and Aniela. There were twin beds, a small cooking appliance, and a refrigeration closet which on inspection had been stocked with a variety of food. Prince James was suddenly hungry and asked; “Rachael, will you prepare us a light supper?”

“What would you like my lord,” Rachel asked? James could see that she was delighted to be the first asked to perform a domestic duty for her new master.

“Something light; perhaps just some sandwiches and milk,” James replied.

As they ate the sandwiches; Rachel had prepared. The women and James were equally shy. They were full of curiosity; but for a time, all three were tongue tied. Prince James, with considerable effort, overcame his shyness. The prince truly wished to know more of the histories of Aniela and Rachel.

Prince James took his time, really looking both women over; noticing the differences in their poise, posture and bodies. His shyness had kept James from really noticing a lot of detail about either of the women. The shyness evaporated as James realized that he was in the presence of two strikingly beautiful women. Two women, who are willing to do anything to obtain his affection; and women whose life mission was now to please and interest their young prince.

Rachael is seven years older than James. She is a stunningly beautiful woman with very white skin, an aristocratic nose, and beautiful eyes the deep indigo color of sapphires. Rachel is slightly taller than James’ five foot-ten inches. Her hair is hanging below her shoulders, slightly curly, and midnight black. She speaks sparingly; and, James senses that Rachel possesses the stronger measure of maturity, inner confidence, and peace.

Aniela is beautiful in a different way: her straight hair is a light brown; her eyes are green with brown flecks. It is Aniela who speaks first; her voice is just a little louder than a whisper: “I recently had my eighteenth birthday; which gave me access to my records in the chancellor's office. I learned; that I was barely three when my parents were killed. Although they had joined their pagan overlords in the Syclic War, they died when the pagans panicked and killed their adult Christian retainers. This happened during the final days of the siege of the Syclic capital world. When the Sylvania Army captured the planet, all the orphans of rebels were declared Imperial chattels and were sent to the Emperor. My earliest memories are of growing up in a beautiful palace where I played with other children at or near my age. We learned to read, write, the basics of the Christian religion, English grammar, and mathematics. When I was ten,” Aniela continued, “the Emperor ordered that his slaves from Syclic-Orion be given a higher technical education and the women taught practical skills.” Aniela’s voice trailed off and she seemed lost in memory.

Aniela spoke again after a long pause, “two weeks ago, on my eighteenth birthday, I finished my school work; and, just last week the women’s supervisor assigned me to clean and learn the practical skills for managing the barracks for Assaer and human Cadets at St. Albert’s War College.” Aniela’s voice was tremulous, uncertain; as if, she were worried and afraid.

Prince James spoke to them, “Neither of you need to be afraid; I am responsible for you as long as we live. I will be patient and kind; but, I trust you know your duty; to be taught of me in religion and instructed in work. You must give me respect and obey me in all things.”

James felt more certain of Aniela’s feelings; so he looked directly at Rachel and asked, “How do you feel about your new station and situation?”

Rachael, her eyes focused on the floor, started to speak. James placed his right hand beneath her chin and gently tilted her head back so she was forced to make eye contact. “I am honored to be chosen by you, my prince. I am a slave because my father rebelled against the Emperor and conspired with the pagans; he was executed and his wife and children sold. The court chamberlain reserved me for the emperor’s pleasure. In the ten years since, he has never sent for me; thus, I have remained a virgin. I will do my duty as a Christian and prove that I am not tainted by my father’s treason.”

James looked closely at Aniela; she is about five foot four inches. She has a trim athletic build, a warm smile, and her eyes beg for his attention. The late evening light shines on her hair; hair that is a soft brown with simmering golden high-lights. James recalls her response to his advances earlier in the day. He had to force a cough to hide the laugh that threatened to burst from his lips as he remembered his fight to focus on the Emperor’s instructions. He had struggled to clear his head of the image of the young woman now sitting across from his chair; and she was even more beautiful, more desirable, and excited him more than he had remembered.

“Some time tomorrow,” James said, “we will be leaving to go on a mission for our Emperor and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I am going to my room now. We need to prepare for bed; good night;” the prince said. He felt awkward not sure of what he should do or say; knowing only that he could not leave Aniela. James saw a disappointed look cross Aniela’s face; which made him realize, she did not wish him to go. Prince James kissed Rachael and then Aniela. He embraced Aniela, pulling her close, and asked her: “Would you like to come with me?”

“Yes my prince,” she said simply. James took her hand and they walked through the door into the larger room containing his bed, three chests with domed lids which held his clothes and belongings. There was also a chair and a closet in which hung two more fatigue uniforms as well as one additional dress uniform. There was the small sink behind which was the mirror, and to the left, a peg on which hung the hand mirror; the mirror that Aniela had held for him earlier that day.

 

****

 

Chapter 6: The First Time

 

“My beloved spake, and said unto me,

‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away’.”

The Song of Solomon 2:10; Received Text of the Holy Bible.

 

Aniela is so beautiful; holding her hand, Prince James easily reads her emotions. He realizes that Aniela is feeling vulnerable, unsure, even frightened. Prince James uses his gift of inner sight to continue looking into her mind. James sees a whirl of fear, a fear mingled with eagerness, curiosity, and longing.

James concentrates and uses the power of his gift, to release feelings of peace and confidence. The prince can sense peace envelope her, as, the tremor in her hand ceases. “Look into my eyes,” he said to her: "Thank you for choosing to be here with me. Aniela! Just being close to you, I feel things that I have felt only once before in my life. It is the same feeling; I had, when I kissed you this morning. I feel a longing, a roaring of my blood, a need, and an emptiness no words can frame”.

Aniela reached up and placed her hands behind James’ neck. He tilted-up her head to kiss her mouth. She opened to his kiss and returned it with enthusiasm.

They still have on the chapel clothes from early evening. Aniela is wearing a white blouse and a royal blue skirt. A slit on the right side runs to her mid-thigh. James still has on the khaki dress uniform from his morning audience with the Emperor. Prince James speaks softly his lips near Aniela’s ear; “You are mine, and the most treasured of all my possessions. If I were a simple free-holder I would still feel wealthy just to have you.”

Aniela whispered to him, in a breathless voice between kisses, “My only fear is that you will be displeased with me. I am a silly girl who dared to dream that you might desire me. I have no words to express my need for you to possess me! I will do anything to please you, my lord!”

Prince James allowed the kiss to deepen; as he ran his right hand down her back, still caressing. James gently caressed her firm butt. “You have a beautiful body;” he whispered in her ear. Aniela moved against James; and he held her in a tight embrace. Rising on her toes Aniela lifted a leg, bending her knee, and pressing her pelvis against his swollen manhood.

The smoldering fire in the prince’s veins burst into flames; as, Aniela’s delicate scent filled his nostrils. Passion made James tongue-tied, awkward—at a loss for words. He continued to kiss and caress her while he struggled to find the words with which to tell this beautiful girl what he needed. Finally in a rough-thick voice, James heard himself say, “Help me get out of these boots, please.” Prince James walked to the end of the bed and sat down.

Aniela knelt before him, grasping the heel of the boot. James saw the personification of his adolescent dreams in her: submission, grace, and beauty. Aniela hesitated unsure of how to proceed; then with an effort, she grasped the heel more firmly and pulled the Wellington off his left foot. Aniela bent forward to grasp the right boot. She heard James’ audible gasp as he gazed into her cleavage. He could see the tops of the pink auroras around her nipples. Aniela pulled off the right boot; “my socks too,” James told her. She complied quickly; then, without being told, Aniela unbuckled his belt, pulling it out of his uniform trouser's belt loops. James stood-up; taking her hands and tugging upward on her wrists.

Aniela rose gracefully to her feet. Prince James heard her whisper, “I want to please you; I wish to be yours completely. I’m not sure of what to do; tell me, please.”

James kissed her neck and ears; all the while, still feeling overpowered by her beauty. James could barely whisper in her ear, “You are so beautiful my Aniela. You are doing everything right; you please me very much!” He moved his right hand to the buttons of her blouse, his fingers felt like clumsy sausages as he struggled to unfasten the buttons.

James paused a few seconds to gaze down at Aniela’s closed eyes. He could see she was peeking; but instinctively he co-operated with her deception. He knew that she wished to give the illusion that her eyes were closed.

Prince James bent his head and again their lips brushed. Aniela’s kiss was sweet and tender; and a sensation like an electric current coursed through James. He unhooked the last button and pushed the blouse gently off her shoulders. Aniela slipped her hands from its long sleeves; and James, reached around her back. He quickly managed to loosen the hooks on her brazier. Aniela took a half-a-step back allowing the bra to drop from her arms. The bra fell to the floor, and James stared, feasting with his eyes on the beauty of her high pert breasts.

James reached out his hands shaking, and lightly brushed her nipples with his thumbs. Aniela shivered at his touch, pulling back slightly, and looking down. She broke eye contact and blushed. Her blush was a deep red that spread from her face down over her lovely breasts. Aniela’s instinct was to cover her breast with her arms; but, she fought off the impulse; somehow, knowing that it was the worst possible action. Uncertain, Aniela momentarily dropped her arms to her sides; then quickly, instinctively knowing: she reached up to encircle her prince’s neck with her arms. The blush slowly faded; “you are the first man to see my naked breast,” Aniela said. “I have always thought… please tell me are my breasts too small?” She asked in a hesitant voice.

Prince James could barely speak, “No! My love they…you are perfect. Aniela, you are more than lovely, more than beautiful; no-other woman can possibly compare to you. You have a beautiful face with lips that beg to be kissed; and your figure is perfect.” James had stammered a little at first but Aniela could hear the conviction in his voice. He felt compelled to wax poetic, “your breasts are soft, but with firm peaks, your nipples rise from perfect little round seas of pink. They fill my soul with hunger, a desire to kiss, caress, and possess.” James rained kisses on her breasts and licked her right nipple. He felt it respond by stiffening, and elongating. James drew it gently into his mouth. He moved his attention to the left nipple kissing and running his tongue over it. Aniela's prince kissed and licked at her ears; while he guided her fingers to his own buttons.

Aniela could not control the squirming as she felt something at her center winding tighter and tighter; she felt a spasm in her womb each time her prince suckled a nipple. She felt heat surround her Venus mons and realized her panty was very moist. Aniela was blushing again; this time she was embarrassed by her body’s arousal. In her innocence, she was afraid that James might think her wanton.

Aniela stepped closer her voice little more than a whisper, “I’ve always loved you; and dreamed of this day. I believed against all logic that you would ask the Emperor for one slave girl from Syclic.” Aniela shook off her stupor and unbuttoned James’ shirt. The prince shrugged off his shirt, no longer embarrassed in the least by his own arousal. He pulled Aniela tight against his body; her nipples, hard and erect, pressed firmly against his chest.

Prince James kissed her mouth hungrily; holding her so tight that she gasped for breath. James realized he was crushing her and relaxed his embrace; he ran his hand between the sides of the slit of her skirt. Then his fingers were under the damp silk that covered her Venus mons. She moaned aloud, squirming under his touch; her pubic hair felt soft, silky and thick to his touch as she pressed eagerly against his fingers. James fumbled clumsily with the clasp of her skirt and the bows which tied on each side at the waist of her panty. Aniela loosened the button at the waist of his uniform; unzipped and pushed down his trousers. She tugged at his briefs. James helped her get the elastic waist over his engorged phallus. Aniela loosened her skirt, which fell down around her ankles. Aniela stepped out of the skirt; and her panty its ties already undone by James, fell settling around her ankles. She lifted each foot and the tiny garment lay on the floor. James looked into her mind. He saw again the mixture of emotions with desire now, out weighing her fear.

Prince James flipped the switch which turned-off the artificial lights; suddenly the room was dusky, the only lights were coming from six candles, in wall scones. “Aniela, you are even more beautiful by candle light;” James declared. The candles cast a flickering light across the bed. James and Aniela pulled the coverings from the bed and fell together on to the sheets.

James kissed her lips, her breast, slowly kissing her navel and probing it with his tongue, gently caressing the inside of her thighs; skin that felt softer than the finest silk. He kissed her calves and then the tops of her feet. James kissed his way back-up her body, slowly, inch by inch his mind making a careful unconscious inventory of her perfect feminine form.

James drew one of Aniela’s nipples into his mouth, while his fingers penetrated her genital lips. Aniela writhed beside James feeling again a contraction below her naval; her hands now clutching at the hair behind his ears, as she moaned, tugging gently at his face.

When James raised his head--she boldly darted her tongue into his mouth, franticly kissing him, her breath ragged; as she made love to him with her tongue.

James’ fingers were still stroking her clitoris. He pushed a finger deeper inside Aniela, feeling the warm slippery fluid of arousal, and smelling the scent of her excitement. Aniela rolled onto her back tugging at James' waist; while he stayed with her kissing and moving his fingers. Aniela spread her legs wide, pulling him on top. She took his phallus in her hand, and guided it inside her. Instinct took over as Aniela bent her knees, her feet flat on the bed. Prince James restrained himself; slowly easing deeper inside Aniela. Her vagina was tight, smaller than he had expected; but slippery from her arousal. James pushed deeper until he felt the resistance of her maidenhead; then, James thrust hard, feeling the tare as he broke through, and hearing Aniela cry-out, as she physically became a woman. James paused for a heart-beat struggling between a blinding lust and the desire not to cause Aniela further pain.

Aniela ended his hesitation as she pulled him to her; her hands grasping at his buttocks. James pushed deeper into Aniela; he felt her involuntary squeezing of his phallus as her climax continued. She held him inside as he ejaculated. James started to withdraw; but, Aniela clutched him with her hands and sphincter muscles holding him tightly within her vagina. They moved together until he ejaculated a second time. They both shuddered as tears ran from Aniela’s eyes and down her cheeks.

“I am sorry for the tears, my prince, but you are so wonderful. When you took me it was so much more than I had thought it could be. You are very kind, you have taken my body and my heart,” Aniela said. She shivered and James heard her give a small sigh as he withdrew.

There were streaks of blood mixed with the fluids on his penis, Prince James gently pushed Aniela’s legs apart and saw the blood from her torn hymen mixed with his seed on her inner thighs. There were a few larger spots on the bed. A sink was near the door and a large basin for water was sitting on a shelf with cloths for washing. James washed himself; then, he got a clean washing cloth which he dampened with the tepid water. Prince James returned to his bed with the cloth and basin. He gently sponged away the blood from Aniela’s mons veneris and thighs. “I have never seen anything so lovely;” James murmured to her. His eyes roaming slowly over her naked body, as he performed the ablutions for her.

Aniela raised sleepy eyes and said, “Thank you my prince, I love you!”

Prince James laid back-down, took Aniela in his arms, and held her close. As they drifted into sleep, James felt a sense of responsibility for someone other than himself for the first time in his life.

Prince James awoke in the early dawn never before having shared his bed. The candles in the scones on one side of the room were beginning to sputter; the reflected light outside the window was turning the barracks courtyard from deep dark to gray. Aniela stirred in her sleep; James heard a few words and a sob. She began to thrash about; and he could see the fear centered in Aniela’s mind. Lying down close to her; James used his gift projecting feelings of warmth and security into her mind. Aniela murmured softly and settled into peaceful slumber.

Prince James eased from the bed taking care not to awaken Aniela. He went to the desk at the foot of the bed. Most bond-women keep a day journal in which they track their work assignments. The more intelligent women also record their thoughts and aspirations. James had noticed Aniela placing her day journal on the desk. He picked it up and started to read back over her entries for yesterday and today. She had written the previous day, “I badgered Rachel again to get me an assignment near Prince James.” At the top of the next page, Aniela had written this morning's assignment, “I am sent to clean the barrack room and assist Prince James.” She had ended the sentence with a lover’s heart and an underlined exclamation mark. James felt the thrill of pride and requited love. Aniela had been excited and felt desire of his notice. She had desired to be his; even before, he had touched her mind or drawn her into his embrace. Inserted against the next page was (the hand written copy made for Aniela by the chancellor’s clerk) a certificate for the conveyance of real property: By order of Baldwin IV: the female Aniela of Syclic being our bound servant and property is here with conveyed to James Prince of Piedmont without recourse in fieth and to his heirs and assigns in full rights of possession.” It was witnessed by the signature of the Rev. Roister+, Chaplin to the prince. Embossed thereon was the seal of the imperial chancellor with a stamped impression of his uncle’s signature.

Prince James turned to the next blank page; there, he wrote this certification: “I did on this date take Aniela, on or about 2100 hours to my bed, where having carnal knowledge of her; I found full proof of her virginity.  Authentication of proof: two witnesses have examined true proofs and signed this certification of virtue.”

James opened the door to the room where Rachel was still asleep. She awoke at his touch, “Call for a messenger, asks the Rev. Roister to come and bring a clerk, tell him that they need to witness a document for me; and to prepare a copy for the imperial chancellor. When you have finished; dress for Chapel and awaken Aniela. We all need to dress quickly; the schedule will be a busy one this morning. Aniela may need your help; try to befriend her. You are my lea-woman; I need to be able to trust and rely on you.”

Rachel bent her head slightly, “Yes my lord,” she said; “Harkening and obedience.”

Prince James’ Chaplain entered with a chancellor’s clerk, an older woman named Lillian. Prince James wrapped his knuckles on the wall by the door to his bedroom. “Aniela, come here at once the chaplain is here;” James demanded. She came out of the bedroom with her damp hair combed; but otherwise, she was obviously ready for the day. “Bring me your journal,” James said to her without giving any explanation.

Aniela brought James the journal; which, he opened and passed to his chaplain. The prince had opened the journal to the page where he had written the certification of Aniela’s virtue and change.

The chaplain held the book while the prince signed the document: James-op-David, Prince of Piedmont. “Please go into my bedroom and note the conditions of the bed; then witness this certification.” They soon returned and the clerk signed after the Chaplain. When she had signed; James said, “Lillian, please prepare the necessary copies. The Rev. Roister, will tell you where to send mine.”

“I will return this journal and your copy, promptly after the morning service,” Lillian said.

The Rev. Roister noticed Aniela’s puzzled expression. “This in no way changes your status in the prince’s household. The purpose is simple. If, you should conceive a child, or already have conceived; your child will be born both free and royal.”

 

****

 

Chapter 7: The Imperial Summons

 

Eighty and Six Anno Domini: The Ship

 

Eriona handed the baby to Althea, the better to embrace her husband, and kiss him goodbye. Her sister saw the tears glittering behind Eriona’s brave smile; but Eriona was determined not to breakdown until Gawain had left. Three of his clansmen and Erick-op-Caleb were already mounted and waited on Lord Dumsauwf. “May God keep you safe my lord,” she said. Eriona’s voice was tremulous even to her own ears. She had watched two of her own brothers’ ride off, while still just a girl, to be slain by the pagans. Life was too uncertain; but her faith in her Saviour was still bright. Surely, God would not suffer his elect people to be completely destroyed.

“Alfred, a word with you,” Lord Dumsauwf called to the priest.

“Yes, my lord,” Alfred hurried over, then asked; “how may I be of service?”

Lord Dumsauwf lowered his voice so none could hear except for Alfred and Eriona. “If I should not return, ask that Bishop James baptize my daughter. At her naming let my daughter’s name be called: Frae-Armetia. In the old high tongue it means ‘the Fair Grace of God’.” Althea approached and held the baby up for her brother-in-law to take. Lord Dumsauwf held his little daughter who grabbed his finger and held on tightly. He kissed the baby on her forehead before handing her down to her mother.

Erick-op-Caleb interrupted politely, “We need to leave at once, my lord; or our warning may come too late for the Christian North men.” At a motion from Lord Dumsauwf, Erick led the way out of the clearing and toward the Glastonbury trail.

They had ridden steadily along the trail about an hour with Erick scouting ahead of the group. One of the clansmen was the first to see it: a thick column of black smoke rising toward the sky about a mile away. “My lord, it appears that we may be too late;” the clansman said pointing to the smoke column. The smoke was obviously originating from below the waterfall.

“Quite! Dismount, and be careful to stay behind the brushes at the edge of the cliff;” Lord Dumsauwf spoke in a voice just loud enough to be heard by his men.

They carefully tied their horses behind a screen of small trees and crept forward peering through the bushes.

At the foot of the ravine they could see a Norse long-boat in flames. Three long-boats with pagan dragons carved on their prowls were beached at a safe distance: several hundred yards from the burning long-boat. They could see a robed pagan priest busily tending to six wounded warriors. He was assisted by two young boys. A small group of captives made up only of women and young children were huddled around the prowl of the closest ship their hands bound and feet shackled. They watched powerless to help as the Danes came from the woods dragging their wounded enemies and heaved them still breathing into the roaring fire that had once been a long boat.

“Vengeance is mine saith the LORD; I shall surely repay,” one of the clansman quoted from the Holy Scripture.

Erick declared in a loud voice, “All I can think of is my own wife and children. These servants of evil lack any mercy; surely, these pagans worship the demons.”

It was apparent that everything of value had been removed from the burning boat before it had been set to fire. The Lord Dumsauwf and his companions watched silently as the Danes divided the spoils between the three victorious long-boats. The last spoil to be loaded were the captives; and then the Dane’s own wounded men were taken aboard. Some of the captive children, separated from their mothers, could be heard crying; as the women were divided equally into three groups and bones were cast to determine which ship owned which group of women. After the women were loaded the Danes three long boats began to move down the Fifth toward the distant sea; they left the Norse ship burning on the small beach beside and below the waterfall.

 

****

 

The Summons

 

Prince James, Aniela, and Rachel entered the small chapel located across the courtyard from the barracks. There were about two hundred Assaer warriors already seated for Morning Prayer.

“Look around Aniela, I do not believe that any of these warriors are Imperial Soldiers;” Rachel whispered. Her voice suggested that she was not certain whether to be curious or alarmed.

Prince James notices that the Assaer soldiers all have the insignia of Piedmont under a small Imperial device on the upper shoulders of their uniforms.

“These are soldiers from my Principality of Piedmont;” James said, surprise evident in his voice. Except for his three personal bodyguards, he had never known any soldiers from the Principality to be in the city of Sylvania.

The priest assigned to the War College Barracks was waiting for their arrival. “We will sit together in the Princes’ pew,” James, whispered to his women.

As soon as they are seated; the instruments stopped playing, and they heard the voice of a priest: “Let us pray”. James noticed that when the general confession and absolution were pronounced; that, there were tears on Aniela’s cheeks.

The first reading at Morning Prayer was from Isaiah 33rd chapter, the 1st to the 23rd verses; the sermon was brief and dealt with God’s judgment on those nations, which having freely received the true faith, chose to turn away from the revelation of God and instead rely on human reasoning.

After the final blessing and recessional hymn, Prince James thanked the priest for his homily and quickly walked from the chapel. Prince James pondered the words of Holy Scripture not yet knowing how much the sermon would harmonize with his mission.

Prince James glanced back at Aniela and Rachel; noticing for the first time, that while Rachel wore a small white lace scarf pinned to her hair; that Aniela had covered her still damp hair with a large dark prayer veil. James smiled as he noticed the contrast between the two women. He realized that Aniela had not been able to resist flaunting her change in station. He is pleased to see that Rachel shows no jealousy and seems to be taking the flaunting in good humor.

It appears that Rachel is intent on being Aniela’s friend. This despite any resentment she might feel at Aniela, the younger of the two, being first in their lord’s bed. Rachel whispered to her, Aniela blushed scarlet; they both laughed together in hushed tones.

A young subaltern of the Piedmont Assaer came up to the prince and saluted. “Captain James-op-David, your Highness, I have orders for you.” She (all Assaer soldiers are undeveloped females) held-out a silver tube with the fingers of her middle left arm.

Prince James returned her salute and unscrewed the top from the metal carrier, “Who are you?” Prince James asked her.

“I am first lieutenant Sharon Piedmont-Tirano, of the Prince’s own regiment: City of New Tirano sir,” she replied.

Prince James removed a stiff paper from the carrier and begin to read, “Captain James-op-David, you are forth-with ordered to report with your household no later than 1300 hours to the office of the provost- general of the Fort Albert Garrison,” it was signed with a signet impressed image of two wood-hawks flying across a mountain rift with the sun in splendor in the background. James knew at once that the order was from the Emperor himself. No one else would dare use that signet.

“Aniela,” James called; she stepped forward.

“Yes, my Lord?” She curtsied, “How may I serve you?”

“Aniela, please inform our chaplain that he is to assemble my household, ready to depart in thirty minutes, at the office of the Provost General, Fort Albert.” Aniela bowed her head in a reverence, turned, and hurried back toward the chapel.

“Lieutenant Sharon,” Prince James turned to the subaltern who snapped to attention, “Send some trustworthy soldiers to assist in the movement of my household.”

“Sir, yes sir!” the lieutenant double-timed back toward the soldiers of Piedmont. Prince James walked rapidly back to the barrack room; where he grabbed up his personal kit. There was a glass of milk and two small sandwich halves on the table at the foot of the bed. James ate quickly and brushed his teeth. He had just finished, when Aniela and Rachel walked in with Lillian right behind them.

Lillian curtseyed, then handed Prince James Aniela’s journal, and a portfolio. She said; “Your highness here are the title papers for the servants given to you by the emperor. The top document is a copy of the certification of Aniela’s virtue and changed status.”

Prince James handed the journal to Aniela; and the other papers to the Chaplain who was serving as the temporary chief steward for his household. “Sir,” James said respectfully, “can you give these back to me later and remind me to look them over?”

“Your highness, I am glad to assist you in this and every way. As soon as we arrive at our destination we will find you a steward so that I can better assume my full time duties as your chaplain and military advisor;” the Rev. Mr. Roister chided gently. “Perhaps Rachel could be imprinted with the necessary knowledge; you may also find you have a need of an office manager in your new assignment.”

“Rachel will be an excellent choice;” Prince James nodded his consent to the chaplain and quickly turned to hurry across the parade ground. The barracks where he has been quartered until today are located inside Fort Albert. James had walked past them and into the classrooms beyond countless times. They are the buildings where he had recently studied: military science, mathematics, business, history, religion, economics, and government. James walked quickly past the Chapel of St. Albans where he had received the sacrament and attended morning and evening services for the past three years.

The office of the provost-general is located very close to the main gate of the court yard; and is on the top floor of an imposing building. General Rahbat Sylvania took James' salute after meeting him at the lobby door; “Follow me,” she ordered. Instead of proceeding upstairs to the office; the General led the way through a heavy metal door and down two flights of steps. They went through another door emerging into a vast hall with a floor of polished stone. The shine on the floor reflected the lights and images of those in the hall.

Prince James saw an imperial marshal of first rank; and, snapped to attention. James stood rigid, holding a salute as the Marshal walked toward him. The Marshal is followed by Princess Margareta, and a number of clerks. Behind the clerks are two Royal Princes carrying their coronets as Viscounts under their arms and wearing their robes of state. They carry the imperial crown on a cushion of purple velvet. Princess Margareta is carrying a heavy cloth-of-gold robe.

James recognizes the marshal as his uncle Baldwin, the Emperor of Sylvania, the Lord of a thousand worlds, and the defender of the faith. The two Royal Princes are his cousins Prince Samuel and Prince Paul who have always been more like brothers to James. They have been his closest-truest friends; and shared many of his childhood and early teen adventures.

Prince James remained at attention while his household members, just entering, walk past and circle to the rear of the assembly. James can easily read the emotions about him, a touch of smug superiority; but mostly affection and pride in the minds of his cousins. James feels no anxiety; until, he sees something a kin to horror and fear in the minds of Aniela and Rachel. His momentary anxiety evaporates when the prince sees the pride in the mind of his mentor, teacher, and chaplain. James knows better than to look into the mind of his uncle. His only thought is to assure his uncle of a complete willingness to carry-out any duty the Emperor may choose to assign.

 

****

 

Chapter 8: James takes two solemn oaths

 

The emperor approached walking within three feet; where, he stopped facing his nephew. “Prince James,” Emperor Baldwin spoke directly to him; but the emperor spoke mostly for the benefit of all those present. “There has seldom been such a time, in the history of the Empire, as the present. Christian Civilization is again under fierce attack by Anti-Christ forces. Pagans are massing beyond the borders of our empire. The Hellebore hoards have over-run neutral worlds on our frontiers; and yet possibly the most dangerous development: the agnostics are taking dominance in the once Christian nations of Earth.”

“We are not certain that we shall long bear up under the strains of our age and this stress;” the Emperor continued. “The last remaining three loyal princes of your generation are Paul, Samuel and you. You three have grown up together; and your cousins, individually have sworn to set aside all personal glory and gain. They have pledged to regard you and each the other as their own person. They have sworn this for the honor and glory of God, the evangelization of all creation, and the maintaining of God’s Church and this Empire.”

“Each of the Royal Princes will this day be given a mission to test their loyalty and worthiness.” The emperor paused briefly, “Samuel is going to the edge of the Marc Galaxy to face the forces of an alien invader. An enemy that is seeking to enslave all Christians both Assaer and human; these beings are driven by hatred for the one true and living God. Paul and you are going to Earth where violence and heresies are assailing the the British Kingdom and the American Republic; and have already overthrown Ethiopian Kingdom.”

“We have tried to assure your survival,” as the Emperor spoke those words; he quickly cleared his throat to disguise the quaver in his voice. “Each of you will have individual responsibility for large numbers of Imperial Subjects Assaer and human, both bond, and free. You have learned science, war, and government in the class room. Now you will learn war from experience; but, also by experience learn the practical application of management and government. Your actions and the decisions you make, will have real consequences for your persons, your households, the future of God’s Church, and this empire;” the Emperor's face was grave.

Emperor Baldwin beckons to Princess Margareta; she stepped forward and fastened the cloak of State about the Emperor’s shoulders. The robe is fastened by a great gold imperial seal of state; hoary with age and heavy with weight. St. Etheral’s Crown of State is placed on Baldwin’s head by the two Royal-Viscounts; who then don their coronets.

General Rahbat Sylvania stands by holding a beautiful red leather portfolio; the Arms of the Principality of Piedmont are prominent on the portfolio’s cover. James had not previously noted the presence of the Primate; but Bishop Edward, who is rarely far from his Emperor, stepped up to James. The Patriarch is holding a large Bible reverently in his hands.

Baldwin speaks, “James, Prince of Piedmont, will you swear friendship, love, and loyalty to your cousins: Prince Samuel viscount of Dumsauwf and Prince Paul viscount of Whithorn? Do you swear never to raise your hand against their persons or to challenge their titles or those rights granted them by the One True, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church?”

Placing his left hand on the Bible and raising his right hand in witness, Prince James answered: “I, James Arthur-op-Joseph-op-David so swear without reservation; God being my strength.” The Emperor next extended his hands, palm facing palm; James knelt before him and places his hands palm to palm within the Emperor’s; “I, James by God’s grace Prince of Piedmont, do solemnly sware to bear true faith and allegiance to Baldwin IV, the Emperor of Sylvania, the Lord of a thousand worlds, anointed of Holy Church, and the Defender of the faith. I will be his servant faithful and true as long as he shall live. So help me God!”

When Prince James had taken the ancient oath of fealty; General Rahbat Sylvania stepped up first saluting the Emperor; then, making a reverence, she held out the portfolio.

Baldwin took it from her hand; and, opening it read aloud; his voice echoing through the hall. “I do here by grant and confer upon James Arthur-op-Joseph-op-David, Prince of Piedmont, the rank of General (with one star and crown of insignia) in the military of the Sylvania Empire; and further, I instruct him to take a force of 1000 Piedmontese Assaer to relieve the present garrison in the city of Richmond, Virginia, in the United States of America on the planet Earth.”

Fixing a steady gaze on James the Emperor continues: “Prince James, seek the council of the experienced Assaer officers who command those troops; and you will have good success. Many of the senior officers have had several tours in the United States. The mission parameters and identification documents for your household are also in this portfolio. Your household Chaplain and two Lea-women shall go with you to Richmond. When you leave here, you will follow General Rahbat Sylvania to an imprinting room.”

“But first,” the Emperor took the star with crown shoulder patches and the pins of rank from a pocket under the cloak of state: “I enjoy pinning my own General Officers and especially my nephews.” Prince James stood at attention while his uncle pinned the insignia to his uniform. General James op-David then saluted, about-faced, and marched out into the hall following the Assaer Five Star General Rahbat Sylvania.

They paused in the hall and waited until Aniela and Rachel came out. Prince James embraced them both. Rachel responded in a dignified, but reserved fashion. When James looked into Rachel’s mind he saw the struggle continuing between pride, and desire mingled with longing; but, pride was winning out. She was his possession and he kissed her in a passionate reminder. Rachel returned his kiss without passion in a manner that suggested her unenthusiastic submission.

But when Rachel spoke; her voice was filled with quiet loyalty. Her tone ringing with conviction: “You will have good success, my lord, in your mission. Somehow I am certain that you will earn our Emperor’s praise.”

Aniela responded much more enthusiastically to his embrace, “My prince, I am so proud of you.” James saw that within Aniela’s mind and shining from her eyes were pride, happiness, and lust. James kissed Aniela deeply, she eagerly pressed into his kiss. The prince gently disengaged from her embrace. When they separated, James felt the pressure against his trousers; and realized with embarrassment, there was a significant swelling of his manhood. Rachel glanced down and choked-off a giggle; Aniela glanced, giggled, and blushed, a deep beet-red blush. James pulled at his uniform trousers’ leg trying unsuccessfully to conceal his now obvious arousal.

James tried hard to ignore his predicament; but he experienced some relief at the distraction provided, upon seeing the Rev. Roister come through the door. They all moved out following General Rahbat. Prince James saw the clock at the end of the hall; it was already two hours past noon.

An Assaer soldier opened a door about half way down the hall for them. They walked through and saw six scanner imprint machines. These machines are a product of Sylvanian Assaer engineering. A scanner-imprint machine allows large amounts of knowledge to be written into the mind. Not unlike a computer storing data to a hard drive.

They were all, (except for General Rahbat and the Rev. Roister), instructed to lie down on benches connected to separate machines. A heavy lead apron was placed from their shoulders to over their feet. Their names and the date were entered and they could each view their name appearing on the screen in front of their face.

There was a loud pop, followed by a quite hum, and then James was unconscious. When he awoke; James was on a cot beside the machine; his lea-women were sitting four feet away on a bench near the wall.

Prince James swung his legs off the cot; just as someone approached, “Your Highness,” he turned his head and saw an Assaer engineer in a white lab coat; “My name is Rose Sylvania. The others have been waiting about thirty minutes; you required almost twice the information to be imprinted, which took a longer time. You now have knowledge of your cover for the mission and will know the people you meet when you cross into Richmond, Virginia. You will know their names and the basic job responsibilities of all Sylvania subjects working for you in Richmond both human and Assaer.”

“Your women have been imprinted with necessary, but different, information. Tomorrow you can receive additional imprinting relative to your mission. It is necessary for at least twelve hours to elapse between secessions. Imprinting scanners and qualified techs are awaiting you at your place of deployment. There is a complete lab below the Assaer barracks in the headquarters building in Richmond; and, a smaller imprinting lab adjacent to your personal quarters. The Rev. Roister is knowledgeable in the operation of both transporters and imprinters; he will take your party from here. Your trunks and other freight have already been placed in your quarters in Richmond;” Rose hurried away to her next assignment.

Prince James suddenly realized that the imprinting had included information he had not received in school. He noticed: Rose Sylvania had a head with protrusions behind her compound eyes swelling out and narrowing only slightly toward the back of her skull. The scientist and engineers have heads shaped very different than the heads of their sister Assaer soldiers who have a large protrusion more to the top of their skulls allowing their eyes to cover areas behind and to the sides as well as the front. Those who do ordinary work have smaller more rounded heads with smaller eyes. James now knew that this was the result of the food formula fed to newly hatched Assaer grubs. Each specialty was fed a protein diet containing a different mixture and level of hormones; too much of one mixture would have resulted in the development into fully female Assaer mothers. The total absence of one of these hormones would result in the development of the rarer male or city father whose only duty was to mate with the city mother making the hundreds of eggs laid daily fertile. Upon maturity, the young males are morphed into adults with wings and an irresistible drive to take to the air to find a mate in distant cities.

The Rev. Roister walked-over accompanied by General Rahbat; they were followed closely by Aniela and Rachel. “Please follow me to that table, you see ahead, the one near the exit sign,” the chaplain asked. He handed a small device resembling a ring with a grooved triangular stone to each of the other humans and took one for himself. “These devices enable humans to see the Assaer who automatically create a distortion field around themselves when in earth atmosphere. That field renders them invisible to all creatures except other Assaer. Wearing and placing a finger in the groove of these or placing the stone in contact with your naked skin also help us to avoid accidently occupying their space during transport between worlds.”

“When you arrive you will receive a small triple function device resembling and functioning as a wrist watch. They will make humans invisible in earth similar atmospheres by creating a distortion field, like to the fields created biologically by the Assaer. This function is activated by pulling out the second watch stem located closest to the number nine. The third function is that of a communication device which uses wave lengths not used by earth governments or civilian earth devices. It will activate to a specific channel monitored by the human or Assaer whose name you have spoken while touching the face of the watch. It will communicate to the device of the one named within five miles of your location. Unfortunately, these watches are destroyed by the transporters. The devices are therefore, of necessity, manufactured on site on every world with in our spheres of influence. General Rahbat will now take us to the proper transporter.” The Rev. Roister concluded his explanations, by waving the rest of his group toward the door, and into the corridor beyond.

“Rev. Roister, wait a minute, please;” Prince James requested. Everyone paused just outside of the door; the women noticing the puzzled expression on James’ face. “I was wondering, can one tell their general field of expertise by just looking at the head of an Assaer? I know the difference between a soldier, scientist, and ordinary worker are obvious; but how about the real specialist: medical doctors, engineers, and military experts like General Rahbat? Is it true this is determined, solely, by hormones in the food of the developing grubs or babies?”

“Basically the real extreme developmental difference is between the soldier, scientist-engineer, and the worker builder;” the Chaplain explained. “The differential development within these three general groups while relying somewhat on the formula seems more a matter of chance or divine providence. Thus it is possible to recognize only three general types: soldier, worker, and scientist-engineer by observation alone.”

James asked quickly, “Assaer, humans, and Vedic are these the only three reasoning species?”

“There are rumors of other sentient-reasoning species with a selection process similar to the Assaer. However no living Sylvanian, to my knowledge, has encountered these beings. Although they are rumored to inhabit worlds in the far distant regions of Dravidian Empire, Hellsboro Empire, and beyond; no one knows with any certainty of their existence. Legend has it that about three thousand years ago another species was supposedly encountered by Assaer from Sylvania who were trading with the Hellsbore."

"The best know of course are creatures with whom the worlds nearest the Dravidian Empire are all too familiar. A race of ape-like erect primates with four arms and four human-like hands. They are believed to be reasoning beings; but they possess a much lower level of intelligence than humans possess. That race seems to relish being in an inferior position to the Dravidians. The relationship seems to be religiously based with these creatures taking pleasure in serving as junior partners to their Dravidian Lords.”

The Rev. Roister lapsed into his familiar style of a college lecturer. “This Assaer type of differential development is common among the non-auto-centric beings, especially the social insects of the earth and earth like planets: honey bees, certain wasps, ants, and termites. I believe it is no accident that God made the Assaer so much like the earth ants but gave them a self-consciousness or soul. The wonder is that like the bees, ants, or termites they continue to possess the social or shared mind; even, while possessing an intelligent and well-developed self-mind;” the Rev. Roister’s voice trailed away. Prince James noticed that there was a pensive expression on the face of his chaplain and mentor.

 

****

 

Chapter 9: Preparing to Embark

 

Even many years later Prince James could remember every detail of the day that he swore his oaths to the Emperor and the church. Neither oath was necessary; for a man without honor would never keep such oaths and an honorable man did not need to swear either friendship or loyalty. Further, he knew that the Emperor could read the minds of all three of the princes; so, he concluded, upon reflection, that the entire oath-taking was for the benefit of the Assaer and the human nobles throughout the empire.

The priest, the general, and Prince James, with Rachel and Aniela close behind, walked out into the hall; and entered the next door on their right. James could see down a long hallway with a sign overhead marked transporters. There was a row of doors; and, an electronic sign above each. They paused before a computer generated sign that said Richmond, Virginia, USA.

“We may need to wait a few minutes as a major troop deployment takes a lot of transporter time;” Prince James was showing off his new knowledge to impress the women. They paused outside the door. The light emitting diode was flashing red above them; it seemed longer, but in less than ten minutes the light emitting diodes turned yellow. They waited five minutes more; and the light emitting diodes turned green. The door opened; they stepped aside to allow fifty (more or less) Assaer soldiers to pass them. The Assaer unit paused and formed-up in the hall; Prince James noticed that they were an elite Imperial Army Unit.

Inside the transporter, a light came on under a sign saying: enter for Earth transport. James heard the seals hiss and realized that they were inside an air lock. General Rahbat was the last of their group to enter; when she was inside, the door to the hall closed with a popping sound.

Another door in front of them opened and they moved forward into a larger rectangular room which contained about sixty heavily padded seats. Once more James heard a hiss of escaping air, followed now by a feeling of pressure.

A mechanical voice said, “Please take a seat, adjust the flexible Polaroid shield around your head, and fasten the straps of the harness around your body.” General Rahbat carefully checked the others’ shields and harnesses; before, fastening her-self into a seat facing a wall covered with gauges and controls. James noticed that the chaplain was seated on the opposite side facing a similar bank of controls. The General and Brother Roister strapped on their own shields and harnesses before going through a check list. When the checklist was complete; they each turned a separate valve handle at the same time.

They experienced a sensation of movement, as the force of acceleration pressed James back against the seat. Then there was only blackness. Prince James thought that he dreamed. He saw colors unlike anything he had ever seen. When James awoke there was a sensation of slowing and then the room was still.

James heard Aniela ask, “Are we alive?”

Rachel replied “Pinch yourself and see; if it hurts, you are alive!”

Before James could try the advice for himself; he heard General Rahbat say, “Everyone, you may remove your face shields; but, please remain seated until Brother Roister and I complete the systems check.”

The prince looked at Rachel and Aniela, they made eye contact; he gave them a silent thumbs-up. James was pleased to see their tentative smiles. Their minds were remarkably calm considering what everyone had just come through: much calmer than James had expected. “Neither of you seem to be very disturbed by your first intergalactic transporter trip;” James said to them.

Rachel spoke so quickly that James realized; that she was speaking spontaneously from her heart. “Why should we be frightened when our prince is also taking the same risk? We remember your vow to protect and care for us, the vowel that you made after choosing us for your lea-women. We know you are an honorable man; who the Emperor has just created a general.”

Prince James was pleased by his women’s confidence in his ability to protect them; but, somewhat awed by his responsibility. General Rahbat and the Chaplain finished their check-list and then in sync turned the handles back to the off position. There was a hiss of atmosphere changing and the door to the air lock opened.

“Let’s get unbuckled,” James heard himself say gruffly in an attempt to hide his emotion. They stepped into the air-lock and the door closed behind them; there was a hiss of releasing seals, and, an l.e.d-Screen lit-up: it said, “Welcome to Imperial Command-Richmond, Virginia, USA.” The door opened and they stepped out into a corridor much like the one under Fort Albert, in Sylvania City. There appeared to be hundreds of soldiers in the Imperial Sylvania military uniforms leaning against the walls awaiting transport.

Prince James glanced back at Rachel and Aniela; he saw Rachel was back to a cool and reserved demeanor. Aniela caught his eye; and she made a circle with her lips before giving him a wink. She was clearly in a flirty mood. Aniela smiled up at James; then her smile morphed into a grin as she asked a question with an innocent expression. “Is there anything I can do for you, my Prince?”

James answered Aniela, “First give me your hand;” he took her left hand with his right and stood gazing intently down at her. “I can think of many things we could do for each other but not right here and now.” James appeared to be merely gazing at her intently while holding her hand; but in reality James was deliberately centering the passion in her mind and causing her libido to spike.

“Aniela, is that a blush I see spreading down your neck?” James asked with feigned concern. Aniela silently gazed at him with begging eyes the expression of need clearly visible to him, shinning from her eyes.

What Aniela might have done next became a mote point; as the Assaer general led the way quickly to the end of the hall. They stepped through a door into a much wider longer hall. There, Prince James saw hundreds of Assaer Soldiers wearing shoulder patches which identified them as units from the Principality of Piedmont. A major hurried over to them and saluted. Prince James returned her salute; and asked, “Are you the duty officer?”

“Yes Sir,” she responded; “I am Major Sarah Piedmont Tirano of your Highness’ own regiment, a quarter of the Prince’s own: the New Tirano brigade.”

 

****

 

Chapter 10: Orienting to Richmond

 

Prince James asked, “Did First Lieutenant Sharon Piedmont deploy with you, Major Sarah?"

“Yes Sir,” Major Sarah replied; “the Lieutenant is one of this regiment’s brightest young officers. I am not surprised that she has come to your attention. Will you be taking the evening report or will General Rahbat?”

The general will take it today as I am under special orders from our Emperor; however, I look forward to having all the Richmond deployed officers of the New Tirano Regiment dine with me at lunch tomorrow. I will want to meet all the officers and we will have the New Brescia regiment from the Prince's Own Piedmont Brigade this Thursday.”

James did not tell the major that the special order was to obey the Instructions of the Patriarch; which as he understood them was to get at least one lea-woman pregnant as soon as possible. He glanced at Aniela who was suddenly conscious of the fact; that she was being undressed by James’ eyes. She squirmed as another wave of heat started in her center and washed upward ending in a blush that darkened her neck and face. James made no attempt to hide the naked lust in his eyes; Yes he had an assigned task on which he intended to enjoy working.

“General Rahbat, will you work out the details for the New Brescia luncheon?” Prince James asked turning to the Sylvania General.

“Yes Sir, his imperial majesty’s business permitting,” the general replied somewhat stiffly.

The Rev. Roister quickly spoke, “I have a commission and my rank as a knight commander outranks everyone below the rank of Brigadier. If you, wish your highness I can make the arrangements.”

“Yes, please do, if you do not mind sir;” Prince James replied. A scripture popped into his mind, “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God!” He had momentarily forgotten that the Assaer General was telepathic. Unfortunately once thought, there was no way to recall any thought.

Prince James wanted to scold himself for his lack of wisdom; when such things occurred: he felt so inadequate to the task the Emperor had assigned.

“General Rahbat, I do not seek to give orders to the Emperor’s chief of staff; but I wish to make a respectful request. I recognize that you are my superior officer serving as an advisor in my mission sector of operation. Would you be so-kind as to accompany us to our quarters?” James asked, “You can supply some of the information; which I do not yet possess.”

“Yes Sir;” General Rahbat led them to an elevator where she punched the up button. “This elevator car only goes between the basement and the top floor,” she explained, “a security concern.” The rise of the elevator was rapid, the door opened on a long corridor, which had three widely separated doors. The corridor seemed to run the entire width of the building. “There are only three large suites occupying the entire top floor;” the general seemed to be more relaxed in speaking to Prince James.

“The largest suite has an armored door and has been prepared for your living quarters. Just down the hall at the next door is the suite for the Chaplain’s family; it also houses three guards from the new Tirano regiment. Three more guards are always stationed just out-side your elevator;” and there will be three more Imperial Sylvanian guards sharing my suite each night while I remain in Richmond.”

James noticed the expressions on the faces of Rachel and Aniela. He was used to sudden pressure changes from his cadet officer training on an interplanetary interceptor ship simulator; but even so, he had felt his stomach arrive at the top floor before his head. “Are you o.k.?” James addressed both women.

“I am a tiny bit nauseous and Aniela looks just a little green. That elevator may require a little adjustment time.” Rachel spoke while Aniela nodded mutely.

General Rahbat seemed to be taking her responsibility for Prince James’ orientation seriously. “All the windows in this building, above the first floor, are bullet proof glass of armor quality. They are made from the same material that is used in your limousine. The limousine armor is manufactured by the same company supplying the armor for the limousines of the American President and is manufactured to the same standard.”

“Let’s go into your suite,” General Rahbat suggested. When James nodded his consent; she rapped smartly on the metal plated door.

The door was opened by a rather plain woman appearing to be in her late-twenties wearing a maid’s uniform. She curtseyed; and, Prince James realized that she was not a part of his imprinted memories. “Who are you; and what are your duties?” James asked.

“My name is Roberta; I have taken charge of the house-keeping. I have undertaken to perform the duties of your Butler; I know those duties thoroughly both by imprinting and experience. I am to tell you that I am a birthday and house-warming gift from your cousin Prince Samuel. My documents are on your desk. There was no one managing your lodgings, and since I have done those duties in the past… I just assumed the job. I am afraid that only one other woman is helping with the housekeeping at present.”

Prince James noticed immediately that Roberta had poise and beauty despite her plain face. She had a certain raw sexuality; not something he could easily put into words. Her figure was classic with slightly larger than average breast, a flat stomach, slightly wide hips for her height. She possessed the posture and carriage of an athlete. Roberta was definitely a woman designed by God for love. James felt a strong attraction to her. She seemed to have the perfect physical attributes for motherhood. He touched her hand and was startled to see a mixture of fear, hostility, and resentment in her mind. “Very well, Roberta, we will see how you work out; and then determine what help you need. Who is helping you now?” James asked her.

“Her name is Alberta, she is from Ulvevstauwf, a gift from Prince Paul; and, her papers are also on your desk.” Roberta quickly added.

"Please call her and then the two of you can give us the grand tour;” Prince James said.

Prince James turned quickly to the Rev. Roister, “I thought your children were all grown adults?” He was also thinking that the chaplain’s wife had been dead for several years.

The Rev Roister hesitated for a moment before replying. “I have three grown children: my two youngest boys are officers serving in the army of Liandudauf; the oldest daughter is married to the Bishop of Mansfield; and they have seven daughters and one son. The Patriarch gave his permission; and, I recently married the young widow of a chaplain killed in the Syclic War. I anticipate that my new wife Emma will be joining me in a few weeks.”

“That is wonderful news! I look forward to meeting your bride;” Prince James assured his chaplain.

“Your highness,” Roberta spoke hesitantly, “Alberta should be here momentarily.”

Aniela had sensed something of Prince James attraction to the housekeeper. She gave Roberta her best fake smile, “Hi, I am Aniela lea-woman to Prince James. This is my friend Rachel the prince’s other lea-woman;” she gestured at Rachel.

A shocked Prince James saw Roberta’s mind fill with rage. “How very nice for you,” Roberta said coldly to the lea-women.

Prince James spoke sharply, “Roberta you will be civil to my lea-women! Rachel and Aniela have my respect; something you have not yet had an opportunity to earn.”

“I beg your pardon, my lord. I did not intend to disrespect you;” Roberta colored but bowed her head.

This one has a temper, James thought; she could be useful if managed properly. He undressed Roberta with his eyes; and I know what Sam would say, a delight if tamed and trained!

 

****

 

Chapter 11: The Grand Tour

 

Alberta appeared almost magically from just beyond the door. James was immediately taken with the attractive redhead. Alberta had plaited her long hair into a single long braid worn over her shoulder. She had long legs, a small flat nose, a very white face and arms lightly dusted with freckles. Despite the freckles she was breath-catching; a truly beautiful woman. When she curtsied pulling at the hem of her skirt, the prince caught a glimpse of white lacey panties. She was dressed almost identical to Roberta but seemed very shy, almost backward.

Prince James touched her hand, looking into her mind, and carefully reading her emotions. Alberta’s mind was filled with intense foreboding, indeed near terror, and dominated by a fear of rejection. When James touched her hand; he found the tiny swirl of yellow behind the fear, brought it to align in front just above her nose, willing her to be calm and passive. James was amazed at how easy it was becoming to control the emotions and responses of his women.

Alberta smiled and spoke for the first time in the prince’s presence, “Thank you for receiving me my lord. How may I serve you?” she asked. Alberta's voice was feminine just a tiny bit husky due no doubt to a bad case of nerves.

“I wish for both you and Roberta to show me the present plan for my quarters,” Prince James requested.

Roberta and Alberta led the way through a large common area into a dining room which would accommodate more than a dozen adults. There were six large bedrooms each with a large walk-in closet. All the bedrooms have three doors, one of which opens on a common area. The common area is furnished with enough comfortable furniture to seat more than twenty adults. Between each bedroom is a full bath. Each bathroom has a large tub and a separate shower, mirrored-vanity tables, well stocked toiletry-medicine cabinets, and wall mirrors. The profusion of mirrors make the rooms appear even larger; than they are in reality. There are three doors one on each side making it possible to pass through all six bedrooms from end to end without entering the corridor. The third door from each opens on a hall running the length of the external building wall.

Prince James was next shown a large room completely furnished as a nursery. “No doubt the Emperor’s subtle reminder of the dynasty’s need of progeny;” Prince James said to the Rev. Roister.

“I believe that it was our primate’s suggestion to the Emperor; however, a suggestion eagerly embraced by his majesty. It would be a danger to any baby or for a pregnant mother to use the transporters. If any of your women should become pregnant, the mother and child would need to remain here until six months after a birth;” the Chaplain replied.

The nursery has three baby beds, cribs, and dressing tables. There are a great many things that James could recognize because of the imprinting even though he had never before seen the like in his eighteen years.

There is a 40 by 200 foot room with a heated swimming pool. The pool is located at the corner of the suite with huge panes of glass looking out (on two sides) over the city and the canal below.

There are the necessary amenities, kitchen, pantries, and an office 200 by 50. The office occupies the corner just opposite the swimming pool.

Roberta spoke; “your luggage is in the end bedroom; which has a through door to the office. I hope that is satisfactory. I had it placed there because it also offers access to a hidden room.” She opened a sliding pane of dark oak; “right through here, it contains three imprinting machines of recent manufacture. This room also doubles as an armory with access through a similar panel in the office. Among the weapons stored here are: invisibility projectors and a variety of state of the art earth weapons.”

General Rahbat interrupted, “The earth weapons were purchased through legal United States sources; and duly registered to a deceased man in Billings, Montana. A man, who continues to vote in United States' national elections, even though he has been dead for ten years. There are rifles, pistols, and even a few shoulder fired missile launchers. The missile launchers were acquired outside this country. The advantage to this method of acquiring weapon systems is the inability of the United States Government to trace these items to Davidson Enterprises.”

General Rahbat was repeating information James had already received in his imprinting secession; but he politely listened as if hearing the information for the first time. Prince James was more impressed with Roberta’s knowledge and skill in organizing his household.

In the office the prince opened a small door concealed below the rows of shelves that occupied the east wall. The door is located opposite the bedroom door and farthest from the door into the dining room. Acting on his implanted knowledge; James placed his palm over a flat 10” sq. screen. He waited for not quite a minute; when a green light came on, he opened the door. General Rahbat pointed to the round aperture, about four feet in diameter “that,” said she, “is the entrance to the chute running down between the inner and outer wall and ending in the basement near the transporter room. This could be your means of escape from this building in extremis.”

The Rev. Roister spoke-up; "Your highness, I need to be excused. The morning office will be in the basement chapel at seven,” he said. "I need to unpack and look up the scriptures for the psaltery and lessons.

Prince James also dismissed General Rahbat, "We all need to rest sir; will you be be prepared to brief me on the military situation after chapel?"

“God’s will, I’ll see you at Morning Prayers,” the general said.

Prince James led the four women out of the office into the area around the large pool. Where they encountered a number of attractive young women seated. James assumed that they were all Imperial subjects; although maybe one or two of them were the additional women the Emperor had told him would be awaiting in Richmond. The majority were probably Imperial bondwomen working for him for the duration of the mission. James would sort it all out tomorrow; for now, he was tired and eager to do more than visually undress Aniela.

“Does everyone know their duties for the rest of the day?” “James asked. “If you have no task assigned; then go to the rooms assigned you; chapel services morning and evening are mandatory. I will meet everyone in the common room an hour before chapel tomorrow.”

James looked at Roberta and wondered again at the sadness he saw in her mind. James already knew that he liked the skillful way she had set up his quarters. He could see that beyond her rather bland-plain face, she was intelligent; and possessed a very desirable body. Roberta’s desirability was diminished by her hair trigger temper and attitude of injured dignity. Her legs and arms were well toned and Roberta gave the impression of robust health. James was puzzled by her rebellious dislike for him. Roberta’s attitude is critical, judgmental, and hostile toward her master. Not yet sure of how to handle an intelligent rebellious slave woman, James spoke firmly to Roberta; “See that breakfast is ready for the whole household by half past six in the morning.”

“Yes my lord;” Roberta’s answer was barely audible.

Prince James turned and spoke to Alberta, “If, the trunks of Rachel and Aniela have been placed elsewhere, make the arrangements to have them moved: Aniela’s to the room beside mine and Rachel’s to the room next to Aniela’s room.”

“Yes my lord,” Alberta said. Her mind was filled with misery: there would be no way to hide the past from her handsome young master. Alberta would try not to get too used to the pleasant situation in which she was living. It was only temporary. The shame she had lived with the past few years felt as fresh as if the events had happened yesterday. She had been desired even needed for all of one day; then, cast away forgotten like an unskilled whore by her lover.

Prince James spoke to his lea-women, “Rachel and Aniela your rooms are next to mine the second and third rooms from the office. We will be here for several months or longer. You need to unpack and place your things in the closets and furniture in your rooms.”

 

Roberta's Resentment Provokes an Angry Response

 

Prince James saw Roberta’s quick grimace as his lea-women obediently hurried to their rooms.  He was furious at the disrespect; and he decided on an immediate reminder of the nature of their relationship.  Prince James stepped close to Roberta who was standing carefully contemplating the toes of her shoes.  He and grasped her wrist; pulled her from the common room, and led her to a chair, next to a low table in his office.  James sat down, “Stand right here and put your right foot on the table, Roberta.”

Prince James spoke firmly; “Roberta:  Rachel and Aniela are the only lea-women I intend to have for a long time.  You are my slave girl and I have given you authority to manage the household.  All of my women will show proper respect to my lea-women.  I will tolerate no exceptions!”

Roberta red faced, lifted her eyes to gaze at her master, “Harkening and obeying;” she said in the same low voice.

Roberta was angry with herself; that she had betrayed her resentment.  She was putting herself in danger to be sold or shipped off to some vassal living on a primitive planet.  Roberta would not acknowledge even to herself, her responsibility for the neglect of her former master.

Prince James pushed a button on his wrist communicator; "Alberta come into the office immediately."  Roberta felt relieved at the distraction offered by Alberta entering the room.  The prince motioned to Alberta who came and stood beside her lord’s chair.

Prince James looked carefully at Alberta and wondered at the fear of rejection lurking in her mind.  Alberta was wearing a maid’s uniform with a white lacey apron over the black dress.  The dress had a very high hem showing off beautiful legs that could only be attached to a woman who exercised daily.  James can see that Alberta possesses a beautiful face, and female figure.  Alberta is obviously a young woman with a great deal to offer; and no easily discernible reason to fear rejection by any man.

Prince James looked at the ankle bracelet around Roberta’s right ankle. He turned it until he could see the tiny seal with a burnished ‘v’.  “Alberta, you will tell one of the guards at the door of my suite to call her watch captain.  Tell her to have three Assaer soldiers bring a band cutter and banding kit to my office at once.”

When Alberta left the room, James led Roberta to the desk chair after closing the office doors.  “Remove all your clothes,” he told her.  She stripped to her bra and panties.  After hesitating a moment, and blushing furiously; Roberta removed her under garments.  James had seated himself on the chair he had placed opposite the office couch.  There was a small foot stool in front of a chair beside the door to the common room.  “Roberta, move that foot stool over here,” James gestured to a spot beside his left foot.  Roberta was trembling as she obeyed.  James took her wrist in his left hand as she placed the stool according to his directions.

Prince James tugged her wrist forcing her to leaned over the stool.  “Roberta, your breasts are lovely and enticing,” he told her staring at her pink aureoles with their slightly elongated nipples.  He reminded himself of his duty to Aniela.  ‘Well,’ he thought, ‘in a few weeks I can have Roberta and still have a clear conscious.  Right now, I’m going to see what part of being Prince James’ slave girl Roberta does not understand.’  James kept a firm grip on her wrist with his left hand.  His right hand stroked the flawless silky skin of her inner thighs.  Occasionally he allowed his fingers to lightly stroke the thick ‘v’ of hair tapering over the labia folds at the junction of her thighs.  He watched the fear dissipate in her mind as he moved passion to align between her eyes above her nose.

The fear was back; when Roberta heard the knock at the door which opened into the common room.  Three Assaer soldiers entered at James’ command.  He had two of them lock and take up a post at each door.  The third unrolled a leather pouch and removed a small hardened steel cutter.  Prince James held out his hand for the cutter.  Taking the cutter he quickly cut the band from Roberta’s right ankle.

“Give me a plain hardened steel slave bracelet with a Piedmont HRH device;” he requested the Assaer with the tools.  The bracelet was fitted just above Roberta's right ankle.  James took care to make the bracelet fit tight enough not to be slipped off; but loose enough not to cause any physical discomfort.  Prince James thanked the soldiers who left to return to their assignments.

“Put your foot on the stool, Roberta;” Prince James briskly commanded.  He made a show of inspecting the bracelet carefully describing what he was looking at to Roberta.  “Now woman, whose device and bracelet is this on your ankle?”

Roberta seemed more relaxed after the Assaer left.  ‘They did not put me in irons, whip me, or take me to the transporters for shipment to a Piedmont jail.’  Roberta thought carefully counting her blessings.  ‘I must learn to hide my feelings; showing my true feelings will only get me deeper in trouble.’  “My lord, the device and bracelet are yours;” she said in a voice with a slight tremor.

Prince James’ voice was cold; even though his fingers were gently caressing her vulva’s folds.  “Roberta, what is the difference between what I have placed on you and the bracelet which I have removed?”

 Roberta squirmed; she was beginning to be aroused in spite of her determination to feed her anger.  “The one you had removed identified the wearer as a virtuous bond-woman bound to your household.  The one I am wearing now identifies a pleasure slave of the lowest order property of the Prince of Piedmont.”

“Put on those undergarments and my household uniform; then you may return to your duties.  Never allow me to see you act or express disrespect directed at either of my lea-women.  Be certain to address them as ‘my lady’ or ‘mistress’.”

"Yes my lord,” Roberta dressed quickly, fighting back tears of rage; until, she could run to her room.

"Roberta unlock the door to my room and tell Aniela and Rachel to come into the office;" James' kept his voice without warmth, bored, and disinterested.

 

****

 

Chapter 12: Aniela and James Spend a Blissful Night

 

“What imprinting were you given for your duties?” Prince James directed his query to Rachel and Aniela when they were alone.

“I was taught the use of all state of the art earth office equipment; office management, and information processing.” Rachel responded; "also those more personal duties of a lea-woman, how to give pleasure to my master, and how to nurture a child."

“Let’s go to my room and talk;” James told them. They entered his bedroom and sat down on the couch. James felt thick headed his mind diverted into too many directions choking off the free flow of ideas.

“Rachel,” Prince James placed his right hand on her knee. “I want you to try the position of office manager and household steward. On my desk you will find three portfolios left for me by the Rev. Roister. Put all the paper work relative to my women together including the papers for you, Aniela, Roberta, and Alberta; also, include the other women chattels which I received from the emperor’s household. When you are done in the office, please go to your room and unpack your clothes; leave my things until tomorrow after Morning Prayers.” James told her.

“Harking and obedience, my lord,” Rachel said. She walked to the door; and paused to drop a graceful curtsey; but her mind was in a whirl. Rachel lectured herself without speaking aloud: ‘Why did I not open my legs when James laid his hand on my knee? I do not wish to take anything from Aniela; she is responsible for me being chosen by our prince. I must not act so resentful or reserved; Prince James is just as much my happy ever-after as he is Aniela’s destiny. I must not do anything to jeopardize Aniela’s friendship; but I must not discourage the desire of our lord to totally possess me. So why am I behaving like a child deprived of a favorite toy. I will pray to be a better friend and an obedient lea-woman. I just cannot seem to control my actions. She hurried away to do the task; which Prince James had given her.

Prince James was still feeling tired and went into the bathroom to freshen up. He finished the necessary and washed his face in cold water. Aniela followed him into the bathroom and stood watching and waiting behind him.

“Wash your face,” James said. When Aniela had complied James said; “give me the wash cloth.” James took the wash cloth from her hand, lifted her hair, and wiped the back of her neck. James kissed her neck and whispered in her ear, “What color panties are you wearing?”

“White lace,” Aniela said, “on light blue silk.”

“Alone with me, you should not be wearing anything under that skirt;” James said lust filling his head and thickening his speech. “Don’t you remember giggling at my arousal this morning? I was embarrassed, certain that the chaplain would notice. My embarrassment was your fault; you are supposed to be meeting all my needs.”

Aniela saw the laughter in his eyes; but she pretended to be frightened. “I’m sorry my lord; but I was a virgin just a few hours before that incident. I must learn to serve you.”

James ran his hands up her thighs. Under her skirt Aniela was wearing a silk panty; which had clinch ties dividing the elastic bands. James untied both sides. “Wiggle that beautiful butt;” he demanded.

When Aniela wiggled the panty fell down around her ankles. She kicked it away eagerly, fully aroused feeling a burning need of her master’s touch. “There,” she said as she kicked the small garment away; “Now you have no excuse for making me wait!"

James led Aniela to his bed; “My arousal feels likely to burst my trousers.” He teased, as he turned Aniela so that they are face to face, and kissed her on the mouth. He pretended to scold her, “I will finish the job. You will know exactly how much of your beauty I wish to feast my eyes on when I quit removing your clothes!” James quickly unbuttoned her blouse, and unhooked her bra; he pulled the garments off impatiently, and dropped them on the floor.

Prince James held Aniela tightly by her hands and sat down on the bed; he pulled her closer until she was bending over to accept his kisses. Her breasts now unrestrained danced above him; and her nipples grazed lightly against his uniform shirt.

When James released her hands; Aniela took a step back. Then she bent forward again; her nipples brushing his knees, as she pulled off his boots. Aniela straightened giving him a great view of her firm breast her nipples erect. She gave an upward tug on his hands.

Prince James stood up, watching with rapt attention, as Aniela took a step back, before moving her hands to her waist. She quickly loosened her skirt's waist button and hidden zipper. Mesmerized, James watched the skirt settle to the floor, forming a dark blue pool about her ankles. Aniela’s calves are tight; her knees a little larger than her ankles and her thighs are works of art. Aniela’s Venus mons tilts slightly forward as she flexes her knees. She is aware of his intent stare; and deliberately teases James by giving him a clear view of her vulva’s folds. The creases of her labia are already wet and glistening from her arousal.

Prince James can not take his eyes from Aniela. Her pubic hair is beautiful, thick, shiny blond-brown, and curly; just as, he remembered from last night. James loosened his belt and the waist button of his uniform pants. Aniela unzipped his fly; giggling when his arousal was fully revealed. “Just look at what I’ve done;” she laughed.

James groaned aloud, aching with the need to take her. Aniela is the fire and James the fuel. He pushed his briefs down and stepped out of them. Aniela gave an involuntary gasp as the size of his arousal increased before her eyes. “Now laugh at your master’s arousal,” James said in a husky voice.

Prince James pulled Aniela against his naked body; she meekly lifted her face for his kiss. Aniela’s lips are warm, soft, and yielding; hesitantly, she begins gently stroking his engorged phallus with her fingers. James cups her buttocks with his hands; pulling her body hard against his, filling her mouth with his tongue. Aniela whimpers expressing her need, only to change from whimper to moans as James breaks the kiss to run his tongue over her hard erect nipples; first the right and then the other.

Prince James gently lowers her on the bed, tapping the inside of her thighs with an impatient hand, holding himself above her; he reaches down to open the tight lips of her mons veneris, and slowly enters her.

Aniela is ready for James; her body’s scents of subtle perfume mingled with the faint musky smell of an aroused woman; the scents fill his nostrils fueling his lust. Aniela gasps, feeling fresh excitement, as inner labia part, and she feels him filling her with his phallus; and then with bated breath, she whispers frantic with desire: “take me, harder, my lord, ” then in a frantic voice, “deeper!”

Aniela begs between moans, “More!” She is wet, warm, and her scents overpower him; James is truly mad with his need, and desire. He withdraws half-way to reach her nipples; he suckles while she bucks and twists under him. Aniela is mad from her building blind need; she feels the clenching deep inside and thrashes about beneath James pulling his hips to her, trying to open wider, to receive more of him inside. James moves faster and faster until Aniela loses all control. She squalls like a child, then moans, still begging him to thrust deep.

James is riding a wave of desire; as he pushes to her limit. Aniela wraps her legs around his hips, locking her ankles behind his back. James moves faster maintaining a rhythm of motion, and Aniela begins to move with him; moaning, shuddering, flexing her legs, tightening and loosening her thighs as she rides the crest of her internal wave, ankles locked tightly together in the small of James’ back.

Prince James feels his hot seed spurting deep within Aniela; he trembles from the force of his ejaculation. Aniela rotates her hips, her vaginal muscles squeezing and relaxing in the spastic movements of her climax. Her fluids are warm and sticky on James’ shaft dripping from his sack onto the bed. He remains hard—still aroused after ejaculating. James is still feeling a gnawing hunger. He feels a burning need, an insistent internal rumbling, and an indescribable want.

Rolling off Aniela, James wipes her mons veneris and his penis with the silk undergarment she had dropped on the bed. James tosses the garment on the floor; rolling her over so that she is face down on the bed. “Lift your butt,” James demands his voice urgent.

“Harkening and obedience,” Aniela giggled, “I’m ready for anything.” James enters her vagina from the rear. Thrusting into her warm wet mound, his pelvis bouncing off her butt, moving faster, thrusting harder, lengthening his strokes, stopping just short of complete withdraw, and thrusting into her rhythmically. Aniela is breathing hard and gasping, “yes! Yes!” With his every thrust they both hear the slapping sound of their bodies coming together; and feel a rush of adrenalin. They both shake and tremble at the instant that James ejaculates again.

Prince James is utterly spent, content at last; he collapses beside Aniela. She rolls over boldly kissing him again and again; as she murmurs words of love, devotion, and gratitude. Aniela lips are close to his ear. “I will always love you with everything I possess. My love will never fade; I will obey you in everything. I will prefer you over everyone; and give you every pleasure any time any place you desire me.”

Prince James wrapped his arms around her, he pulled a sheet up over them; and whispered “you were just too good my Aniela!” Aniela squirms as James tongues her ear: “The things you did were not all instinct,” James declared. He asked sleepily, “Where did you learn that trick of locking your ankles behind my back?”

Aniela giggled, “Some of my imprinting was about pleasing my prince and conceiving his babies.” She snuggled up against James. He pulled her tight; and they lay together like two spoons in a tray of silver. James looked deep into her mind and saw there: love and contentment, with a fierce devoted loyalty. He felt thoroughly loved, content, and sure in the knowledge; that Aniela was totally and happily his possession. Prince James lifted her hair to kiss the nape of her neck once more; taking pleasure from the feel of the shiver vibrating the length of her spine. They fell into a deep sleep, Aniela still locked in his embrace.

 

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Chapter 13: First Shower

 

The communicator in the corner of the room beeped insistently; “4:30 a. m. Richmond time,” the mechanical voice announced.

Prince James eased from the bed and hurried to the bathroom to take care of his necessities and shave. Finished shaving, James quickly returned to wake Aniela. He pulled the sheet and blanket off her with a quick tug; and, she sat up quickly looking disheveled, beautiful, and befuddled.

“Good morning; my delight,” James exclaimed; “you are so very beautiful, like Venus rising.” The shadow fled from her face banished by a wide smile.

“Good morning, sweet prince;” Aniela said. James took her hand, pulled her up, and tossed her a short silk robe.

“Our first appointment is at six a. m.,” Prince James told her. He led the way to the bathroom. “We need to clean up and get dressed for assembly, breakfast, and Morning Prayer.”

The grab-bars in the shower’s walls were put to heavy use; as the randy eighteen year-olds played. “Aniela, give me your left foot,” Prince James demanded. He began with her toes and slowly soaped his way, inch by slow inch, up into her pubic hair. She giggled as James made his slow progress; his back blocking the force of the water and preventing the soap from rinsing away. James teased her, “Aniela pay attention: I expect you to do this for me; besides, I wish to be sure that all the places I am going to kiss are squeaky clean!”

Prince James released her left foot. “Give me your right foot;” he continued to tease her. James soaped his way to her upper thighs; while Aniela squirmed and her giggles turn to laughter. He soaped her pelvis and butt; and while silently marveling at the perfection of her female body. James watched the way the muscles flexed in Aniela’s abdomen as his hands moved over her. He turned the two of them in a half circle putting Aniela between him and the water coming from the shower head. The prince turned his attention to her front side, they stood face to face while the soap rinsed from Aniela’s back and legs. James washed her breasts; feasting his eyes on taunt distended nipples. James restrained himself with difficulty and handed the soapy cloth to her. “Wash your face, woman;” James demanded with mock severity. Aniela washed her face. An impatient James took the cloth; and turned her, the better to scrub her shoulders and upper-back.

Prince James pulled Aniela back against his body; his manhood, swollen, pressed beneath her buttocks. He touched her labia with the head of his phallus; then, placing his hands around her waist, James reached down, sliding his hands over her flat abs, to the top of her genitals. James slipped his index finger between her folds. He was not disappointed: she was wet and ready for him.

Aniela gave a mock scream; “Oh no! I’ve aroused him again!”

James swept Aniela into his arms, marveling at how much woman could be packed into so slight a frame. He stepped from the shower with Aniela’s arms encircling his neck; the burning desire in her eyes mirroring his own need. James knelt and gently lowered Aniela on to a thick bath towel spread over the bath rug which covered the floor outside the shower door. James knelt between her knees; lifting her butt with both hands. He thrust hard into her. “Now…right now!” James demanded.

Aniela giggled at James’ urgency, excited by the power she held over him. “Harkening and obeying my lord;” she whispered in his ear. She forced her muscles to relax; allowing James to push deeper into her vagina. Then, she tightened her pelvic muscles, squeezing him firmly. They both climaxed almost as soon as she began to move with him. They lay locked together for several minutes without speaking; lying on the towel covered rug breathing hard, both of them sated and exhausted.

Prince James finally summoned the strength to pull her up from the floor; they stepped back into the shower and rinsed off. James handed Aniela the wash cloth; she began slowly washing him, repeating the ablutions he had given her. They rinsed off again and toweled each other dry. Aniela sat down in front of the vanity. Prince James left her there drying her hair; and finishing those few things necessary to bring out her natural beauty.

James dressed quickly after taking the least wrinkled military uniform from a trunk. It was the uniform with the insignia of his new rank already sewn on the shirt. Rachel had already completed both dress uniform shirts for him. James picked up a wrist communicator and set it to the household frequency. “Roberta,” he spoke the name.

Almost immediately she replied, “My lord, this is Roberta speaking."

"Who would be familiar with the location and names of all the Sylvania Subjects residing in this building?” James asked.

Roberta replied with a question: “Are you including the Assaer?”

“No, I just need information on the human subjects,” James answered.

“You will want to speak with Alberta,” she said, Prince James heard a background snigger and realized Roberta was playing to an audience.

“Please send Alberta to my room a.s.a.p.!” James snapped; annoyed at the rebellious hauteur in Roberta’s voice.

“Immediately my lord,” Roberta’s tone revealed her further attempt to impress the unseen audience.

James’ heart sank; ‘certainly the Emperor would soon know that he was unable to manage even his own household,’ he thought. The angry prince smiled entertaining a mental image of publicly whipping Roberta. The scheduled morning assembly would be the perfect venue; but, he regretfully pushed the thought aside as an immature-unworthy way for a prince to respond to a shrewish woman. If he could not solve this problem, the Emperor would have no choice but to send someone else to carry forward the mission. It suddenly occurred to Prince James; that if he could discover the cause of Roberta’s hostility, he might be well on the path to taming her.

 

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Chapter 14: Alberta’s secret

 

Prince James walked into Rachel’s bedroom. She was sitting quietly on a chair; Rachel wore a silk gown which did not hide very much of her lovely figure. She held a stocking in one hand; and on her face was the dazed look of someone still more than half asleep.

“Good morning, lovely Rachel, did you get the documents organized last evening,” James asked her.

“Yes my lord,” Rachel blushed aware of his gaze traveling over her body; “they are on the desk in your office.”

Prince James yielded to a sudden impulse; he gave the slash of the robe a quick tug: the robe fell open. Her blush darkened and spread down her chest, “Do you like the view?” Rachel asked with a nervous giggle.

“You are very beautiful,” James answered. “Every part of you is perfect, just lovely; even, the hair on your Venus mons is the same beautiful blue-black color as the hair on your head,” James could not keep the wonder from his voice. "How could I not like the view?"

Prince James saw tears gleaming in Rachel’s eyes; his lea-woman gave him a sad smile, and her lips trembled as she slowly drew her robe together. She said, “I would not wish to deny Aniela her seven days; but, I am yours anytime or any place. You must surely know that I desire you.” Rachel blushed; “I would never refuse you anything; that, I have in my power to give you. My chief goal is to lavish my love on you. You rescued me from a loveless life in the Emperor’s service; a life I never thought I could escape. You choose me; and pleasing you is my heart’s sincere desire.”

Prince James touched her cheek softly with his hand; he bent down, and gave her a lingering kiss. “We will meet in the common room at 600 hours, from there we will all go to breakfast, and then to the Chapel for Morning Prayers. Keep your communicator on your wrist; please make that a habit while we are on this planet,” James told Rachel.

Prince James hurried to the office and quickly visually scanned through the portfolio. In addition to Rachel, Aniela, Roberta, and Alberta; there were other sets of documents bearing the names of: Crystal, Linda, Jeanette, Sarah, Mary-Sue, and Wanda. Six in addition to Rachel and Aniela, eight women conveyed to the prince by Imperial certification; then adding his cousins' gifts, a total of ten women.

Prince James wondered ‘was this another test given by his uncle to see if the prince would have enough wisdom and skill to manage people.'

If so, no doubt it will be a difficult one owing to the usual issues of womanly jealously. Prince James made a decision; he decided that it would be necessary to go over each woman’s papers with her. James hoped such reviews would enable him to begin each relationship from a position of strength. James wished to make sure that each woman realized that this present duty was not an assignment; but rather, a destination. The women all needed to know; that, they would not be returning to their former positions.

Prince James picked up the communicator from his desk; and said, “Alberta pick up the com.”

She answered immediately, “I am just passing the office on my way to your room, my lord.”

“Come into the office instead,” James instructed. She opened the corridor door almost immediately; and, James motioned to her, “come over to the desk.” He was pleased to see that Alberta looked alert. She was beautiful in a freshly starched and pressed household uniform identical to the one she had worn yesterday. The low bodice and short skirt caught and held James’ attention. Alberta’s striking complexion, hair, and figure made the uniform very sexy.

Alberta knelt humbly beside Prince James’ chair, “How may I serve you, my lord?” She asked. James took her hand and looked into her mind. What he saw made him wondered; there was fear mingled with uncertainty. Every time they were together; that was what he saw in her mind. “Did you let all the Sylvanian subjects know; that they are expected in the common room at 600 hours?” James questioned her.

“Yes my lord,” Alberta replied.

“Thank you,” James said; “now lock the door from my bedroom. We have some time; I wish to go over your documents with you.” She walked to the door, obediently turned the latch, and returned to kneel again beside the desk just in front of his chair.

Prince James picked up the title of ownership and transfer of property document for Alberta; along with Prince Paul’s card. He read aloud to her from the card. Prince Paul had written, “I believe Alberta will be a great help to you. I have included her medical reports which show she is twenty-seven and in excellent health. She has a gift for managing people and controlling inventories. Alberta is pretty in her face, fair in complexion, with beautiful hair; and she has a fine figure. She may be shy; but Alberta has a great attitude; and is not daunted by challenges. I could not think of a better gift for your birthday. You should enjoy your opportunities; good luck with your mission.” It is signed Paul-op-David of Ulvevstauwf, Viscount of Whithorn.

Prince James laid the card aside and taking the title and property transfer document he began to read it to Alberta: “I, Paul-op-David, son of the Prince of Ulvevstauwf, certify in the presence of two witnesses that the woman known as Alberta of Ulvevstauwf, my chattel, was born my property. Her mother is a slave, who was purchased for me from a proctor of the imperial army’s sixth division for a weight of three ounces of gold an exact testimony and copy is attached to this document. Her father was a rebel, unknown to me, and was executed before her birth. Alberta has never been free, she is a Christian of good moral virtue, possesses a ready wit, and is of high intelligence. I do now convey without reserve: to the high and beloved Prince James of Piedmont, to his heirs, and assigns forever: that real and valuable property “Alberta of Ulvevstauwf.” The document was witnessed by: Captain Eleanor of the armed forces of Ulvevstauwf; and by the Rev. Carl Montez. The seal of Ulvevstauwf was embossed; appearing beneath the signature of Paul-op-Jessie-op-David, Prince—Viscount of Whithorn.

Prince James showed her three folders. “Here are the results of three physical examinations all done last year. All signify that you are a mature female, clean, with nothing to indicate infertility. You are free of sexually transmittable disease; but, you are not a virgin. Is there anything you wish to tell me?” Prince James looked into her mind and read fear and shame.

“It was Prince Paul who took my maiden-head when I was eighteen; but, he was so smitten with his lea-woman Sahara, that he never fulfilled my days, or visited me again. I doubt that he even remembers our encounter. I am certain that he meant no disrespect in giving me to you. While waiting on Sahara, I have often heard him speak of you with genuine affection.” Her voice broke as she said, “I am glad to get away. His rejection makes me feel cheap and dirty; that I am of less worth than other women. I am not wanton and will serve you faithfully; if, you desire me. I know, you may choose to send me away…" Prince James saw the tears welling up in her eyes and heard a tremor in her voice.

Prince James kissed her and said, “I hope you will be happy in my household. You will send me your calendar.” James began to calm her replacing the fear with feelings of warmth, love, and security.

“Here is my calendar, lord; my fertility cycles have been very regular;” Alberta said blushing while taking a folded paper from a pocket. She handed it to her master with a smile;” I shall obey and always strive to please you my lord.”

“Alberta, come here and sit on my knee. I wish to share a riddle with you. What is the difference between a grope and a caress?” Prince James asked Alberta when she was perched on his knee.

“My lord, I do not know,” Alberta said.

“Here is a clue,” James said; pulling her to him, James loosened three buttons, and ran his hand inside her blouse. If anyone other than I were doing this; it would be a grope, if he went no further. I would have him flogged within an inch of his life.” She giggled aloud; Prince James took her lips with a hard passionate kiss. “One day soon I’ll come to your room and we will explore the arts of caress,” he said. “Alberta, you please me very much. If God wills; we will give each other many hours of pleasure. I do not doubt that you will give me many healthy children. I will write Prince Paul and thank him for his excellent gift. I hold you to be blameless. I will visit you at the time appointed;” Prince James promised her.

 

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Chapter 15: Aniela Learns Her Responsibilities

 

Aniela walked through the door as soon as Alberta opened it. She had dressed for the chapel service; and was wearing a dark blue dress. Her high heel shoes were oxblood as was the small clutch purse she carried. Across her arm, Aniela carried a large dark prayer scarf which perfectly matched her dress. Her eyes were bright and lively.

“We have about ten minutes before the assembly,” Prince James said to her. “I’m glad you brought a head scarf; I was going to ask you to wear one. I will send any imperial women (who come to the assembly) to breakfast. Only my women will be left. I have ten women in Richmond; eight, including you and Rachel, are gifts from the emperor. Two of my women, one each are gifts from the Royal Dukes. Alberta, Rachel, and you have reviewed your documents with me; the others still must be interviewed.”

“Now, listen very carefully: I am giving you the most important instructions; that you will ever receive from me. You must try to gain the friendship of each of the other nine women. They will all be jealous of you. Aniela, do you know why this is important,” James asked?

“No, my lord;” Aniela said, “I shall find it hard to like them when you take them to your bed.”

“This is the reason,” Prince James said, “Only God opens and closes the womb of a woman. It is not unusual for a bond-woman to bear malice toward the person and-or children born to another of the same or higher station. You are the first woman; who I have known in the Biblical sense. I have only granted two of my women the stature of lea-women; and you are first lea-woman in my household. Therefore, only you can and must make my household work in harmony. By doing the necessary things, you will protect any children you bare to your lord. This means you must be kind; and, smooth any frictions among the others. Remember, you are not the youngest woman; Crystal is younger than you. I expect maturity and thoughtfulness from you. You can do this; I know that you can. I love you very much; if I were not a prince of Sylvania. I would spend my whole life loving you only. The fate of the Empire and the lives of the Emperor’s billions of subjects depend on the continuation of the dynasty. I am not at liberty to do everything I wish; and, I will not lift my head in disobedience to our Emperor as one of my cousins seems to have done.”

Prince James held Aniela’s hand gazing into her eyes. James saw the colors in her mind, as he caused the release of peace and contentment. James concentrated to nudge just a little of the dark burgundy swirl, the color of devotion, into an alignment in the center between her eyes on the axis of her nose.

“Aniela, if you obey me in this, for all of your childbearing years, I will not forsake your bed. When you are too old to conceive I will show you honor in the presence of the Empire; none shall have greater honor from me than you. But, if you allow jealousy to control you, I will punish you so severely, that your treason will be noted and spoken of throughout the Empire. You must be willing to be humble, when that is necessary, to keep peace in my household. You must trust me; that I will not allow any of my women to be abusive to you without punishment,” Prince James assured her. “I will use the gift of inner sight to know if you lie to me; you must tell me now. Will you obey me in all things and take the responsibility I am asking of you?” Prince James asked with the knowledge that the future stability of the Empire might depend on Aniela realizing and accepting this responsibility.

Aniela knelt before her prince, her tears were falling on the floor; as she said, “I love you…And I will find strength and courage in my love for you. I will never commit treason against you; and God enabling me, I will not disobey you in any matter great or small. I will make these women my friends; if God wills.” She sobbed, “Please forgive me; I love you with complete devotion. But, I fear that I am not wise beyond my years.”

“There is nothing to forgive, my delight;” Prince James spoke words of reassurance. Holding her hand he spoke firmly; “Quick, dry your tears. I do not wish the others to see you have been distressed. We are going to the common room to meet the others. Now, place the head scarf over your hair. You will walk in on my arm and I will publicly show you the affection and respect which you richly deserve;” James told her.

They exited the office through the door to the corridor which was just a few steps from the common room. All the chairs, except for one, were arranged in a semi-circle. Roberta had placed a straight back chair for Prince James facing the opening of the assembled chairs. Prince James arrived, at the chair, which Roberta had placed for him. He half turned and glanced at the watching women; then the prince took Aniela into his arms, embraced, and kissed her. James spoke loud enough that all could hear, “My delight, get a chair from the wall and sit by my side.” Aniela curtseyed and started for the wall to get a chair.

Alberta called out, “Please wait my lady.” Alberta brought a chair from the wall for Aniela. Prince James saw no jealousy as he looked into Alberta’s mind. James knew that Aniela’s position now, as first among his women was firmly established; unless he removed her.

Aniela was determined to make good on the promise she had just made to Prince James. Before Aniela took her seat, she smiled making eye contact with as many of the women as possible. “Our lord, Prince James, desires that we treat each other as sisters. I will seek only the good for each one of my sisters as long as God gives me grace. I will not bicker or quarrel with anyone of you; regardless of which of you the prince may favor in the future. I hope each of you will speak to me honestly; if I give you any grounds for offence;” Aniela blushed and sat down. Her hands were trembling slightly; and her eyes were downcast as she stared modestly at the floor.

 

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Chapter 16: Prince James Begins to Organize His Household

 

Prince James called-out, “Everyone take a seat; and listen carefully for your name.” When they were seated the prince opened the portfolio and read: “Aniela of Syclic, Rachel of Syclic, and Alberta of Ulvevstauwf, Roberta of Liandudauf, Sarah Baldwin-koign, Mary-Susan Baldwin-koign, Wanda Baldwin-koign, Jeanette Baldwin-koign, Linda Baldwin-koign, and Crystal Baldwin-koign. All those whose names have been called please remain seated.”

“Everyone else go to the kitchen area, where breakfast will be served by the Assaer wait staff. I expect everyone to attend the Morning Prayer Service at 7 a. m.”

Prince James turned his attention to the ten women who remained. “When, I call your name; you will come to me, one at a time behind that screen across the alcove. It is that small three sided area just off to your left. Each woman called will review her documents; but it will be impossible to see everyone today. Going over your registration documents will enable you to better understand your duty. I will see as many as possible before breakfast. Those, not called this morning, will be called by communicator, and told where to go; throughout the weeks ahead, until I have spoken with each one of you. Aniela has already stated my expectation: that all of you will cultivate friendly relationships; and, you will behave as sisters toward each other. I will not tolerate my household becoming a place of bickering and petty feuds."

Prince James began with the youngest; Crystal came forward when he called her name.

The screen was across the alcove entrance; upon entering, James was pleased to see that an Assaer guard stood behind the chair. The Assaer soldier would send the images and even thoughts of those James interviewed to a recorder which lay on the small table standing beside a gilded chair of state. No one except Prince James would be wearing the appliance which renders Assaer visible in Earth atmosphere. Therefore, the women would not be frightened or intimidated by the presence of the soldier. Crystal walked behind the screen; and curtseyed to her master. James showed her the title document confirming her status as his property. “I see that you were eighteen only last week. I will see you often through the coming weeks. You will be given an assignment and will eat at my table with my lea-women; and sit in the Prince’s pew at chapel. The legal age of competence is usually considered to be eighteen. Yours could be later depending on the maturity with which you perform any assigned tasks. When I have reason to believe you have attain the age of competence; I will make you a woman or give you to some other lord. Your destiny depends on your character and attitude;” Prince James told her. “You are my property and will not be returning to the Imperial Service of Baldwin IV. There is one question that I require you to answer immediately: How do you feel about being the slave woman of the Prince of Piedmont?”

James asked to gauge her reaction; and, by looking into her mind, to know whether she was rebellious against the status of which; she had just been informed.

She merely blushed and whispered meekly, “I am glad to be yours. I hope some day to be yours in every way. I am happy that you are my master.”

“Crystal, I am not only your master; you are to remember that,” James said. “You are to address me as my lord or my prince. I expect you to show me your submission by inviting my caresses and seeking my attention.”

“Yes my lord, I truly wish to have your caresses; I thank you for receiving me.” Crystal gave James a chaste kiss.

Next the prince called Aniela. He was glad to see her sunny disposition had returned. She greeted Prince James with a smile. “I have decided to try to do random acts of kindness for my sisters at every opportunity,” she said.

Aniela had removed her head scarf before coming into the screened area. “Ah…I am alone again with my beautiful slave-girl,” James teased her.

Aniela laughed gaily and then asked, “Can you tell me the color of the panties I have on?”

“Let me see, long navy blue dress, dark blue head scarf…my guess would be light blue?” James made his answer into a question.

Aniela laughed again, “so wrong!” She lifted the hem of her dress and showed James her lovely Venus mons with its lush brush of thick curly blond-brown hair. “Maybe I can tempt you into skipping breakfast!” She teased.

Prince James kissed Aniela with passion; and, she returned his kiss with enthusiasm. James released her with reluctance; and said, “When you go out send Linda Baldwin-koign to me.”

Sarah stirred uneasily when Linda was called, “I think I am younger than Linda;” she whispered to Aniela as Linda walked towards the interview area.

“Rachel would know, she organized the titles for the prince. She knows all ten of his slave-girls’ ages,” Aniela replied to Sarah’s question.

“Rachel does our prince think I’m ugly; I wonder why he called Linda before me?” Sarah asked.

“You are much more attractive than I am,” Aniela answered quickly. “If he had not chosen me before he saw you, I would probably not be the first lea-woman. I am determined to make it easy for my lord to do his duty. I came to realize that the Emperor expects our prince to have more consorts than just his two lea-women. I then made up my mind that I would keep a loving, seductive, and enthusiastic attitude toward my love, Prince James. I am resolved not to nag or rage against the inevitable. Prince James gives every sign of being in love with me; but I know that in just four more short days he will take Rachel to his bed. I know that he will enjoy being with Rachel. The Emperor expects nothing less than many children from the women of our prince."

Rachel spoke quietly, “You are mistaken about the age of Linda; Sarah, Linda is two years younger than you. You need to listen carefully to Aniela, be her true friend, and take her advice. Aniela will be fair with all the other women. I am having a hard time because the little devil perched on my shoulder; keeps whispering that our lord should have taken me first. I have decided to love Aniela and continue to be her faithful friend. Unless she rebels against our lord, she will always have the first place in his heart. Always remember, he is the head of his household; and he will not react kindly to any unfounded complaints from his women.”

Sarah hugged both Aniela and Rachel, “Thank you for giving me advice and for correcting my false impression.”

Aniela took Rachel’s hand and looked full in her eyes. “I hope you have forgiven me. I was thoughtless and immature: completely smitten with Prince James that first night after chapel. Forgive me for not thinking of the impropriety of being taken first; when I am your younger sister."

Aniela spoke with such obvious sincerity that Rachel could not help but respond. “Aniela I feel the affection for you of an older sister for her younger sister. I will always try to be a real friend. I understand your actions and recognize that I would not be a lea-woman except for your friendship.”

Linda entered the alcove and knelt before Prince James. The hem of her skirt was about three inches short of touching the floor; and her blouse’s plunging neck line revealed enough cleavage to excite his interest. James quickly went over her papers. “Is there anything you do not understand about your position” he asked her?

“No my lord,” Linda responded quickly.

“I will have Roberta assign you some household duties until I determine how you are gifted. What is your duty to your prince;” James asked her?

“My lord, my duty is to obey without delay or question your commands. I am to learn of you in matters of religion. I am bound to be chaste; and, not to withhold any pleasures lying in my power to give you;” Linda declared. “I am to cover my head in church with a white scarf until such a time as you take carnal knowledge of my body. All of these things were imprinted on my mind in the day I was sent to Richmond to await your arrival;” Linda said.

“Linda, you are very beautiful and I am very blessed that the Emperor deigned to give you to me,” Prince James told her. “Now that I am of age I have two great duties: first, to carry out the missions assigned me by the Emperor; and, second with God’s enabling, I am to father children to help secure the dynasty. Further, the Patriarch has given me this dispensation and commandment. I am not to neglect my women; and, I am to treat them with kindness and respect. I eagerly anticipate our times together. As you know, Aniela is in the third day of her seven. I will have no other woman during her seven days; thus, Aniela and all my women shall be respected.”

Linda handed James her calendar, “Please send Sarah to me now;” James told her.

Sarah must have been waiting near the opening to the alcove; she entered quickly, walked toward Prince James, and knelt at the side of his chair. She had on a long skirt of soft gray material which complimented her unusual gray eyes. She spoke softly; “Thank you for sending for me, my lord.”

Prince James took out her title document and reviewed it quickly with her. “Is there anything that you do not understand he asked?”

Sarah laughed, “I am your chattel and expect to be assigned duties in your household. What will happen to me when you have completed your assignment and return to Piedmont?”

James looked into her mind and saw fear and dread. He could not see any lust or anticipation. “You have taken the time to make yourself beautiful; yet, I sense that you are a very unhappy woman. I am a Christian and a man of honor. You are a beautiful woman, a gift from my uncle the Emperor of Sylvania. When or if I return to Piedmont my women will go with me or follow as soon as their safety permits. Sarah, how did you come to be the Emperor’s chattel?”

“I was too young to remember for myself;" Sarah hesitated before continuing "but my mother was a menial servant cleaning the hall of a pagan prince of the Hellsboro. She was stolen with her mother, that is my grandmother, from Pittsburg on the planet earth. Her mother was allowed to raise her until she turned thirteen. Then her master sold her to the King of Mavicia to work in his silk mills. I was born and she was reassigned as a house slave in the hall of the oldest son of the Mavician King. This prince sold all his serving women over the age of thirty, and those children not his get, to a Neptunite dealer who sold me to a Christian merchant who gave me to the Emperor.”

Prince James saw the pain that accompanied the review of Sarah’s history. He kept his voice soft, “You are my slave girl. If you are obedient, and I live, you will remain mine. If you have my children they will be free and recognized as sons and daughters of the Prince of Piedmont. I will love and care for you as long as we both live; if, you do not wish to be mine; or you are rebellious. I will give you to one of my frontiersmen or a veteran retiring from the armed forces. Do you wish to be a part of my household?”

Sarah had been looking down at the floor. She now looked James in the eye, “I wish to be yours,” she said simply. He gazed deep into her beautiful eyes; then looking into her mind he saw for the first time a small bit of contentment mingled with the burgundy of devotion.

Prince James stood up and embraced Sarah, “Let’s return to the others;” he said.

Prince James followed Sarah back to the group. She was conscious of his eyes on her and moved seductively. James was certain that she would be happy in his embrace. He glanced at Aniela sitting beside his empty chair. James smiled at Aniela and then spoke to the entire assembly. “It is almost 6:30 a.m.; I will call those not yet interviewed one at a time during opportune times until everyone has been interviewed.”

“Breakfast everyone! Roberta will seat herself at the table on my left side. Aniela will take the seat on my right; Rachel will sit next to Aniela. Alberta will ask God’s grace before we begin to eat;” Prince James told his women. They quickly walked to the kitchen-great room; where he took a seat at the middle of the table. Aniela and Roberta went to their seats; Alberta stood at the chair beside Rachel. Alberta waited until Prince James said loudly, “Let us pray.”

Alberta asked the blessing of Almighty God on the Emperor, the princes (especially her gracious lord Prince James), then she asked that the food might be blessed to the health of all, in Jesus name. The Amen was said by every voice present.

Soldiers from the New Tirano-Piedmont Regiment served the breakfast table. The women all ate lightly, mindful of the shortness of time before the office of Morning Prayer. Prince James hurried back to his room and quickly freshened-up. Upon walking back to the Commons Area, he found that Aniela, Rachel, Alberta, and Roberta had gathered all of the household women. They were assembled, waiting for his arrival. The household members and James walked together to the elevator.

The elevator car seemed to drop from the seventh floor straight to the basement. When it started down, it took only seconds before the doors opened; there they found themselves right across from the chapel’s open doors.

The large chapel was hung with the purple of the Lenten Season. Prince James and his women entered the chapel and walked down the aisle to the large box-pew near the Holy table, on the right side, just one box to the liturgical north of the pulpit. James sat in the middle of the front bench (there are three benches in the box pew). James took a seat between Rachel and Aniela. There were several hundred Assaer officers and soldiers standing when the prince walked down the long aisle to his pew. They sat down as soon as their prince was seated. The Imperial staff with the women of the Emperor’s household, about a hundred in all, had already filled the opposite box pew and part of the left side.

The moving and majestic worship of the Church’s great choir office swept all up in awe and joined them to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of all the ages, as they worshiped. The Old Testament lesson was the entire fifty-eighth chapter of the Book of Isaiah the Prophet; the New Testament lesson was from St. Matthew’s gospel the sixth chapter.

Prince James gave himself totally to the worship; feeling unburdened in the General Confession and renewed in the absolution. The hymns moved his soul as James realized that for the first time he sang them on the very planet of our LORD’S passion.

The Rev. Mr. Roister+ pronounced the grace; at the end of the prayers and sermon, and then made a further announcement: “his royal highness has commanded the presence of his Chaplain, two of the senior officers of the Piedmont Regiments along with General Rahbat and a junior officer: Lt. Sharon Piedmont. These are to attend the prince in the office adjacent to his quarters; and they will constitute a council to review all recently received Imperial directives; and make preparation to execute the same."

After that announcement, we all stood and sang the Recessional Hymn, knelt to pray the closing prayers, and then exited the chapel.

 

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Chapter 17: The Prince of Piedmont’s First Council of War

 

Eighty and Six Anno Domini: The Vain Search for Norse Christian Survivors

 

They waited crouched in the brush until the Danes were mere dots on the water. Lord Dumsauwf looked at Erick, “are you able to ride on for the horses and help that the women, young children and elderly need? We cannot be sure that Roderick, the first messenger, was able to pass the North men without being captured.”

“I am more than able. There is a place about a mile upstream; where the Prince’s Thane-men forded the horses on their way to us, just a short two days ago;” Erick replied. Erick did not wait for further instruction; he left riding his horse upstream toward the ford.

“Three of us should make our way down toward the beached ship. Just in case, someone was able to escape into the woods.” Lord Dumsauwf continued; “I would not want to leave any wounded Christian from that long boat still alive to be food for the wolves.” Lord Dumsauwf spoke to the third clansman: “Eli, please stay here keep a watch towards the sea; and make plenty of noise if you see the Danes returning.”

Lord Dumsauwf left the horses tied and led the way down a steep path toward the smoldering remains of the long boat. Gawain and his Clansmen searched in vain for any survivors from the Pagan Danes’ attack on the Norse Christians.

It was nearly dark; when they returned to the refugees. Lord Dumsauwf dismounted; and after handing the reins of his mount to a Clansman, approached the cavern. The Thane-men had killed three small deer and the smell of roasting meat was fragrant on the air. One of them had even found a salt lick, which deer had been using; and, he had chipped out enough of the hard crystals to provide some seasoning for the venison. Everyone had enough to eat that night.

Prince Thomas listened to his brother-in-law’s report on the Danes massacre of the Norse Christians. “I’ll take a turn at guard tonight so that you and your men can get some rest.” He ignored the half hearted protest of Lord Dumsauwf. “You and your men are exhausted. The elderly are in no shape to make the rest of the trip; so, we will wait until noon for Erick to return with horses and supplies. If he is not here by noon we will gather everything up and go as far as the water fall. Fortunately the weather seems to be warming up.”

 

Council of War

 

General Rahbat led the way back to the elevator. “I am curious your highness as to why you have summonsed Lt. Sharon Piedmont to attend the reading of directives; I know you are aware that subalterns do not generally sit in on meetings at this level of command.”

“You are right to question; and I will defer to your judgment if you think it a bad decision, general.” Prince James spoke respectfully, “I wish to revive the old custom of a military orderly-attaché to bounce ideas off, write dispatches, to serve as courier, and body guard. Lt. Sharon possesses a gift for organizing small parties to execute on short notice. She has a readiness to act and exercises judgment without consulting on minor details. I also need someone capable of writing commendations and imperial dispatches. Further, Lt. Sharon has been out of the imperial war college for three years; and, she has had at least two hazardous deployments. I, on the other hand, have almost no experience; after all, I am a very recent graduate of St. Albert’s War College. Our emperor gave me a command to seek your guidance, the guidance of good Brother Roister, and the senior officers of the Piedmont Regiments. You will shortly be returning to Sylvania to take your rightful place on the Imperial General Staff. Lt. Sharon Piedmont would be a further check on my acting in rashness; once you are no longer around to caution me.”

“May I interrupt your highness?” Major Sarah Tirano had been quietly listening.

“Please speak up Major Tirano;” James said quickly.

“Sir, she said addressing General Rahbat, “I believe that our young prince has made a wonderful choice in subalterns. If you are in agreement with his idea, Lt. Sharon would be the ideal candidate. I have recommended her for promotion based on the same qualities that Prince James has noticed.”

Almost a minute passed before General Rahbat replied, “Thinking it over carefully; I believe that there is a great deal of merit in the idea, your highness. I hope you will wait on the full implementation, though, until I am able to make an evaluation of Lt. Sharon based on personal observation. Until then the subaltern should be excluded from the conferences on Imperial Directives. Lt. Sharon’s exclusion may be temporary; and otherwise, I recommend that she start her job immediately as your aide-de-camp.”

“Thank you both for your wise council,” Prince James said sincerely. “Major Sarah, would you give the orders for Lt. Sharon’s kit to be moved into one of the rooms in my apartments? She can begin at once to over-see my personal security.”

“Aniela”, Prince James called to his lea-woman, “I shall want your personal attention all day. You may go back to the room and change into something lighter; then, come on into the office. Please tell Rachel to accompany you; the guards will have orders to admit you.”

Aniela curtseyed, “Harkening and obedience,” she said; then, she bathed James in the radiance of her smile; before she hurried off toward the prince’s room.

“Lt. Sharon, get a detail together to provide security; keep your communicator on my personal channel at all times. I will call you into the meeting if necessary. When they arrive, Aniela, Rachel, and Alberta are to be admitted. Alberta will be the official recorder. Aniela is 1st lea-woman, an astute observer, my general assistant, and valued for her intelligent opinions. I will want Rachel to assist in the up-coming missions”. Lt Sharon saluted, made an about-face, and quickly exited the room.

“Alberta, I wish a private word with you;” Prince James said. He then addressed his Piedmont Assaer Officers and General Rahbat. “My household supervisor will provide you with any refreshments you wish before our conference begins. Give me at least ten minutes with my bondwoman, Alberta, before you come to the office.”

James noticed his household manager standing nearby: “Roberta, please see to the needs of these brave warriors.”

Alberta followed the prince into the office and he shut the door behind her. “Alberta,” Prince James said, “you are dressed very appropriately for a worship service; but, your new assignment is to be the chronicler to the Prince of Piedmont. You are to wear business dress by which I mean: suit jacket over a blouse and skirt, or a Jacket over a dress.” Prince James continued, “Always carry a recorder, a translator, a small clutch purse, and wear short or no heel shoes comfortable for walking. You have great legs, so let me see them. You have very nice breast, so show me some cleavage; but always wear a bra. I want your breast to remain very nice. Go quickly to your quarters, change, and come back dressed appropriately; prepared to do your job. If the Assaer or the Chaplain return before you; go straight into the imprinting room and wait. I will come to get you. I wish to make sure you are ready to do the job, to which I have assigned you. Now, repeat what I just told you;” Prince James demanded.

“My new assignment is court chronicler; I am to dress up for the job. Wear shoes in which I can walk a lot with comfort. I am to clothe myself in a manner to satisfy your desire to see my legs and tits. I am to carry a recorder, a translator, and a clutch purse. I am to return quickly; and see you alone before the beginning of the meeting;” a happily grinning Alberta summarized quickly.

“You know what to do,” James said; “now hurry!” He gave Alberta’s firm butt a friendly swat. An appreciative James watched her beautiful red hair, no longer braided, swirling about her lovely shoulders; as she hurried away.

Aniela and Alberta passed each other in the doorway. Prince James motioned Aniela over to his desk. “Look through these documents. They are in numerical order, keep them in that order, and hand them to me, one set at a time; when I ask for them. Pay close attention to which set you’re handing me; you should clue me with a few words when passing them over;” the prince instructed her. James took notice of the outfit Aniela was wearing: a lacey low cut blouse over a bra that showed a maximum amount of her high pert breast, and a very short skirt. Below the skirt’s hem, Aniela’s feet and legs were bare except for the sandals on her feet. She was adjusting to his bold eyes and without blushing raised her skirt’s hem.

“You can see, my lord, she grinned, I am a very proper slave girl!”

Prince James gave a mock groan, “I see you have still not had enough intimate attention; come here.” James pulled her into his embrace and kissed her hard on the lips. The prince filled her mouth with his tongue; while, he squeeze her naked butt with his right hand. Aniela responded immediately by passionately returning his kiss; while she ground her pelvis against his uniform fly. James stroked her inner thighs and then her Venus mons, before gently breaking the embrace.

“Aniela, I am going to ride you this afternoon until you are too sore to walk straight;” Prince James told her with a wicked grin. Unafraid Aniela returned his grin boldly. She made a production out of straightening her skirt. Deciding she had teased James enough; Aniela took the documents from his hand. She began quickly but carefully to read them; checking their numerical order as she read.

General Rahbat and Major Sarah Tirano came through the door with Alberta. Alberta nodded and smiled at James and Aniela as she walked past without speaking and entered the imprinting or armory room. The Assaer officers were closely followed by Rachel and Lt. Sharon. The Subaltern quickly executed her duties: stationing two soldiers from her squad outside the bathroom door on the inside of the prince’s bedroom. A military detail checked the imprinting-room and the prince’s aide-de-camp placed two more soldiers outside the door which opens into the corridor. Lt. Sharon then stationed herself on the outside of that door to serve as gate keeper. Prince James asked the staff officers to seat themselves and they all waited for the Rev. Roister.

When Aniela finished organizing the folders; she sat quietly awaiting the prince’s direction.

“Aniela, go to the kitchen and bring a tray with a decanter of fermented grasshopper spirits, and one of port wine. Tell Roberta what you need and bring glasses for all those present; be sure and include Alberta, Rachel, and yourself;” Prince James directed.

When Aniela had departed James got to his feet and found Alberta waiting in the imprinting room. Alberta looked impressive in her red dress with its suit jacket. The dress was cut low in front which showed her cleavage; cleavage which Prince James found to be beyond beautiful.

Alberta looked at Prince James, made a downward sweep with both hands palms open, and asked, “Is this is what you wanted my Lord?”

“Exactly,” Prince James beamed; “for me a walking menu of available female charms and for everyone else, a no nonsense businesswoman. Although, if circumstances were different, I’d prefer you buck naked on that couch or bent over its padded arm.”

Alberta winked, laughed nervously, and arched her eyebrows: “I’m ready and willing; although I am sure that isn’t really your wish with Aniela and the Assaer officers waiting for you."

Prince James beckoned to her, “Come here woman!” Alberta stepped closer and Prince James embraced her; kissed her gently but passionately. James slowly turned her around; he inspected her firm butt, well-shaped legs, and noticed the hint of an athlete in the separation at the top of her well-toned thighs. When he released her, Prince James gave a low whistle.

“I am struggling to keep my hands off you, Alberta;” Prince James said. “You are very beautiful; you arouse and excite me. I promise you that some night very soon: I will open your bedroom door. We will explore each other’s charms; charms like yours need to be slowly and thoroughly awakened. You are correct; now is not the time for what I wish to do with you. We must get to work; please check, be sure your recorder is working properly.” James watched her straighten her dress and looked her over quickly. “You look like the perfect Chronicler,” he told her.

“Thank you my lord,” Alberta said to James. “I desire you; and I am learning to love you. I shall dream of you opening my bedroom door. I promise the warmest of welcomes when you come to me.”

Alberta kissed James on the mouth; she knelt and humbly kissed her prince’s hand. She needed no imprinting in the area of how to seduce her man. Instinctively she knew that manifesting a submissive attitude was the greatest possible male aphrodisiac.

James walked Alberta back to the office; where she took a seat just behind the prince’s chair. Prince James had chosen a comfortable chair; in which, he sat facing the chairs of the assembled military officers. The Rev. Roister came in and took a seat between the two senior staff officers; just as, Aniela returned from the kitchen carrying a large tray with two decanters: one of Port Wine and the other of Fermented Grasshopper Juice (the only spirits that Assaer drink except for the sacrament of the altar). She poured the juice-liquor for the Assaer officers; and the Port for the Rev. Roister and James. Aniela then poured a tiny portion of port for Alberta, Rachel, and herself. Everyone stood and lifted their glasses: “To His Imperial Majesty Baldwin IV—Long Life and Felicity,” Prince James solemnly intoned. They all tossed down the liqueur and sat the glasses back on the tray. Aniela put the tray on the side board, picked up the directives, and came back to sit on the floor at Prince James’ feet.

Prince James spoke for the benefit of the recorder: “It is the two-hundred-fifty-sixth year of the rein of Baldwin IV; the ninth day of February, a Wednesday; the time is 8 a. m. This is the first military staff meeting of Prince James of Piedmont; present are: General Rahbat Sylvania, Major Sharon Tirano, Major Alsace, the Rev. Roister (the Chaplain to the Prince and a member of the Priest Militant of the Order of Jerusalem), and General James-op-David. Also present the Chronicler of the Principality of Piedmont, Alberta of Ulvevstauwf; Rachel of Syclic, lea-woman and office manager for Prince James; and Aniela of Syclic lea-woman, secretary, and personal assistant to the Prince."

“Aniela, give me the preface and then the first directive;” Prince James request. She handed him the preface to the directives. James read aloud to the staff, “To our beloved James, Prince of Piedmont: His Imperial Majesty sends you a number of mission directives. You may be receiving more directives as situations are considered serious enough to warrant a call to action. Each directive concerns an on-going crime against the elect people and the property of the Church occurring in the State of Virginia. Choose any one directive and plan carefully the best way to further the cause of justice. You must operate from the shadows; and you should take care to disguise your actions so that the authorities will not suspect the interference (or even the existence) of the Sylvania Empire. When you have resolved a situation; a complete report should be attached to the mission directive make a copy to place in a file for binding and send the original by Courier to the office of the Imperial Chancellor.”

 

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Book is complete in 43 Chapters plus Glossary and Character Descriptions

Status: Waiting for Publisher's Edit and Cover Design

Release Date is targeted for second week of November.