Views: 346 Created: 2017.03.24 Updated: 2017.03.24

Arabella and the rod by stephen rawlings

CHAPTER 17 - THE PRICE OF BLOOD

Physically it was a wearing week, her disgust with her own body growing daily as the lack of clean clothes and ablutions of any kind left her odorous and disheveled, though her imagination and her proximity to her own body led her to think her scent more powerful than it was in reality.

At least one person was not put off by her befouled state. Julietta had still to attend Dame Magda every evening, returning with her now raw buttocks newly inflamed and tears on her cheeks. Arabella's arms, scented or not, were a welcome haven for her distress, where she could sob a little before gentle fingers worked on her feminine centre to spark the shuddering eruption that eased her hurts and brought the healing cloak of sleep.

The week was over soon enough, and a grateful and contrite Countess tasted the luxury of hot water and a maid to dress her and brush her hair. So great was her pleasure that first day she suffered pangs of remorse come evening, when a fearful Julietta donned her penitent's robe again to pay her nightly visit to Magda's rod, nor was it less when, wet eyed, she limped back to the room they shared, desperately seeking comfort for her hurts.

All through her ordeal Carlo had been absent on family business, whether truly urgent, or a tactful way of letting her cleanse her conscience without the further embarrassment of his presence, she had no means of knowing. Perhaps, she thought wryly, he had got wind of what form her penance might take and had made sure he had an adequate excuse to keep away from her bed until she smelt less pungently. No, she corrected herself, he would not do that if he thought she needed him, however rank her person, but he had left it to the women's court to deal with, and would never interfere in 'women's business'.

But now he was back, and she rejoiced in the summons to his bed, though it tugged at her heart strings to leave Julietta to suffer alone each evening she shared Carlo's bed and ardent body. Soon she had to withdraw even further, for Carlo announced he was returning to the city, and wished her to accompany him, and be his hostess in their town house in Palermo. The two women took a tearful farewell of each other, Carlo, ever the perfect Gentleman, ceding his rights to her body, so that she could spend the last night cradling Julietta in her arms.

Back in the city she found herself making the acquaintance of those members of the extended family that she had not met before, and

receiving the homage that was her due as the Countess, and senior lady of the clan. For nearly a month they lived in a constant whirl of parties and banquets, many of them in her honour to meet leading members of the city society, others hosted by herself in the rather grand 'palazzo', that was the headquarters of the Petraverdi clan.

During the day, Carlo received a constant stream of visitors and, even during the grand entertainments they attended, men would come up and be taken aside for serious discussions of some kind. Something was brewing, and it came as no surprise when he announced that he would be leaving at the end of the week, taking most of the younger men with him, on a mission to the Ottoman Porte, an important errand that might keep him from her bed for some weeks, perhaps a month or more, but, he gallantly declared, almost worth the separation for the joy they would have on his return.

After the turbulence of his departure she planned on a few days to calm herself, before setting off for Petraverdi again, as was now natural for her as a proper Petraverdi female. The first evening though was to be no rest. Hardly had she sat with a volume of poetry by the notorious young Lord Byron, then she was aware of a commotion in the hall way, and a servant knocked to enquire discreetly if she was at home to the Signora Guida, the senior lady of a minor branch of the family, who she had met during her introductions to the Petraverdi connections in the city. Before she could answer, the lady herself appeared in the doorway.

"Pardon me, Contessa," she said, in a voice taut with distress, "I am sorry to disturb you at this time, but the matter is of the utmost importance and confidentiality. I must speak with you tonight." Arabella dismissed the servant, and invited the woman to sit, where she wrung her hands in her lap and looked even more upset than before. "I came to you because all the men are away, and something must be done quickly or it will be too late."

Arabella calmed her down, then coaxed the story from her. It seemed the Guida son and heir had been seized with lust for the daughter of the Malcardi clan and abducted her off the street, leaving her to find her way home raped and pillaged of her honour. The boy had left that morning on Carlo's ship, before the girl had limped home, and now there would be hell to pay. The Malcardis would be calling for his blood and, finding him absent, their own hot-headed young men would seek out and kill any Petraverdi male they could find in revenge. What was she to do.

Arabella dealt with the hysterics, then sent the woman home, assuring her she could leave matters where they belonged, in the hands of the senior lady of the clan, herself. No sooner had the carriage bearing the distraught mother left than Arabella called for her own coach, throwing an all-enveloping cloak over the light 'dishabille' she had affected for comfort in her own home, and left instantly for the 'palazzo' of the Malcardi's,a few minutes’ drive across the city. At the door, she had her coachman knock loudly until answered, then hand in a sealed note, demanding that it be taken immediately to Donna Isabella, the matriarch of the clan, while Arabella remained discreetly hidden behind the curtains of the coach. In a few minutes the servant returned, asking if the lady would kindly accompany her to La Signora.

Donna Isabella was a woman in her seventies, still very upright, her indomitable will would not have let her bend, and with enough clues in the fine bones of the face, and the elegance of her carriage, to confirm her reputation as a noted beauty in her youth.

"In view of your evident haste, and the fact you came yourself, I will assume that you know of the outrage that has been committed against my family by a foolish youth of your own," she opened, looking at Arabella's obvious informal style of dressing, "I can appreciate that you would be concerned, but I must tell you outright, there is no question but that young Guida raped my grand-daughter, and very

comprehensively too. The poor girl is still in pain, before and behind. She was virgin of course, and God knows if she will get away with a flat belly after what that brute did to her."

"Donna Isabella, I have no doubt at all as to the facts. Such things are only too common among the head strong young men of today, and no more forgivable for that, but the youth has gone on an embassy with the Count, my husband, and who knows when they may return."

"In the meantime," Arabella continued, "it seems highly probable that one of 'your' young men will display an equally intemperate nature and run his sword through the first male Petraverdi he comes across. We may then look forward to a 'vendetta' that will claim more blood than the late war, and last ten times as long."

Donna Isabella crossed herself fervently.

"It is only too likely," she admitted, "there are feuds on this island that have been going on for so long that no-one now knows how, or even when, they started, the original wrong having long been lost to memory. But what can we do? The wrong will have to be made right somehow, or Malcardi honour will be impugned."

"I am only a newcomer here," Arabella said, "but I have heard that a rape of this sort can sometimes be balanced by a woman of the offending family being given to the victim's family to be used by them as their female was handled by her rapist. Is such a thing still possible do you think?"

The stiff black-clad figure opposite did not answer at first, then - "Yes. It has not been done for a long while, but such traditions die hard and, in any case, many of our men are away from home too. It should be possible to persuade the immediate family that honour had been satisfied, as I don't believe anyone actively wishes 'vendetta', although all would actively pursue it once it were declared."

"Would you help me to achieve such a resolution, and avoid bloodshed in both our families?" Arabella asked.

"Certainly, but do you think it would be possible to find a woman willing to sacrifice herself in this way? You appreciate that there would be more to it than merely submitting to intercourse with one male of the aggrieved family? That family would have the right to make her suffer as much as the victim did."

"I do, and I have a woman in mind who would submit to this, but I would like to establish the details of such a hostage-giving before I commit her."

"Very understandable. Well, in the first place, the woman must expect to be used sexually by the immediate male members of the family. That goes without saying, and is the heart of the matter."

"How many immediate family are there in this case?" Arabella asked. Donna Isabella considered.

"As I said before, many of our men are also away but, at the moment, there is the father, one brother, an Uncle and two male cousins old enough to use a woman, which makes five altogether."

"That is acceptable," Arabella agreed, "The woman may be given to the five you have named. Would you require anything else?"

"Oh yes. The recompense must match the offence. In other words, the hostage must suffer as closely as possible the pains inflicted on the victim. That is only just."

"I can see that could be so," Arabella admitted, "What would be involved here?"

"The girl was quite badly bruised and beaten. To be fair, i think it was done more to subdue her struggles than from naked cruelty but, either way, the beating, and the tearing of her vagina by his rough courtship, might be appropriately matched by the woman being beaten in her turn, and her sex similarly abused. Since her female relatives are at least as affronted as her male kin, it seems to me that they should have the woman first, and inflict on her such cuts of the cane or strap, on buttocks or vulva as would have a comparable effect. I take it the woman you have in mind is no virgin."

Arabella looked more concerned at this proviso than at the

straight-forward rape involved in the hostage being given to the males. "How many women are there? I would not trust women to restrain themselves as men might in those circumstances, and it would have to be clearly understood that nothing was to be done to the woman that might affect her future health and appearance. My informant told me that the girl, although sore and shaken, has taken no actual injury, other than some very nasty abrasions, and the damage to her vulva."

"Yes. That is a fair statement of her condition and you have my word that the woman you send shall suffer nothing worse, although i promise you that that will be as much as she will care to bear. A minor but significant point. The girl, being inexperienced and terrified, had only pain and distress from her experience. A woman used to the play of a penis in her belly might actually be able to mitigate her suffering by taking some pleasure from it, even in some cases from the application of a cane to her buttocks."

Donna Isabella permitted herself a wry smile.

"Nature has endowed us with so close an entanglement of our centres of pain and pleasure in our loins that the two can sometimes prove

impossible to separate. This woman must not be allowed to escape her full measure of suffering, whether at the hands of the women or the men, and she will have her sexual lightnings discharged repeatedly at the women's hands before they proceed to inflict her beatings, so that she feels every stroke as pain, and every thrust of the men as violation. As to numbers, there are five again, two elder sisters, the mother, an Aunt and a female cousin."

"I have every confidence in your word, Donna Isabella, and am happy to rely on that to see the woman is not damaged. She will submit to the five family members before she is given to the men. Are those all your conditions?"

"Not quite. The victim was virgin but we will not know if she has conceived for at least one month, and maybe more. You can imagine the horror of this waiting for the girl. It is necessary that the Petraverdi woman is made to suffer the same anxieties. There must be no tricks with oil and sponges, or silver wires in the entrance to the womb. She must come clean and empty, and take her chance of having her belly filled by the men's seed."

Arabella looked appalled.

"I don't think that I can agree to that," she got out finally. "The woman is married, and there would be others involved."

"It must be done," Donna Isabella responded firmly, "It is an inescapable price that must be paid. I might well be able to persuade the men to accept only the other conditions, they will get all the satisfaction they require from ravaging her, but the women see these things differently, and they will insist that the substitute puts her womb at risk, equally with their own sister. No risk and there is no exchange, and 'vendetta' will follow as sure as night follows day." Arabella was silent for so long it became uncomfortable in the room, but Donna Isabella made no attempt to hurry her decision. At last she spoke.

"Very well, if it must be done, it must be done. The woman will come clean and empty. Now I have a condition of my own. So far, the news of the girl's rape has been kept from being public knowledge and, if between us we can avoid 'vendetta', there is no reason why the girl's identity should ever be known outside her immediate family circle. It seems fair therefore that the woman's identity should also be protected. She must be allowed to wear a mask over her head throughout."

"I see a problem there," Donna Isabella replied, "the girl is of the highest blood in the land, and the woman sent to pay the price of her rape must be equally high born. If the woman is masked, how are we to know that she is not some hired harlot, willing to suffer for an hour or two in exchange for being set up for life?"

For answer, Arabella stood and threw off her cloak. Under it she wore only the light 'robe de chambre' that she had been wearing when the dire news was brought to her. She stripped off the sheer silk and wound it across her face, turning towards her hostess.

"Do you think you would recognise 'my' body beneath the mask?" she asked.

Donna Isabella nodded slowly.

"You are a very brave woman, Contessa," she said gravely, "I salute you."

Just under twenty-four hours later, a closed carriage stopped outside the entrance to the Malcardi mansion. It was expected and the doors opened immediately to admit a tall figure enveloped in a voluminous cloak and hood that served to prevent any casual observer identifying the woman beneath. On bare feet, she was led by a family member to an upper floor, from which all servants had been banned, and thrust into a brightly lit room where five more women waited. Her cloak was taken from her to reveal her exquisite figure, naked save for a species of black mask, or hood with eye-slits, that totally enclosed her head and hair, making her unrecognisable to anyone but a lover or ladysmaid.

"Is this the woman?" the girl's aunt asked abruptly. Donna Isabella nodded assent.

"Are you sure? They could have substituted a whore to take her knocks for gold."

"I am sure," Donna Isabella said, somewhat stiffly, as if affronted that her judgement should be questioned in anything, "Besides, use your eyes. Does that look like the body of a whore?"

It did not, and the Aunt accepted with a bad grace that she had been wrong to query the validity of the sacrificial offering.

The room had been almost emptied of furniture, its principal remaining item being a small, but very heavily constructed table, a little higher than average, its top thick black oak with the patina of age, the legs carved from massive pieces of timber, and slightly splayed out to form a very firm base. To this the masked woman was led, and made to bend over it, her breasts flattened against the cold hard surface, her arms crossed behind her back and secured wrist to elbow, her ankles and knees parted widely and fastened to the front legs, leaving her secured firmly below, with her legs parted, opening up her slot behind to reveal the split fig of her pudenda. Now a wide leather belt was fastened tightly round her waist, with cords passed through rings sewn into the leather and taken over the near edge of the table to fasten underneath. With the cords pulled tight, taking the belt to the table edge, and her legs fixed at knee and ankle, her body could only accommodate by canting up her pelvis and thrusting back her buttocks, making her self fully open behind, her vulva totally accessible to hand on strap.

With ungentle fingers, the Aunt probed the cringing vagina, the woman soon gasping as three bony digits thrust deep into her slit, reaching for the neck of the womb, squeezing, digging, twisting, drawing quick grunts of pain from the luckless owner of these dry cavities that the unlubricated fingers were mauling so savagely.

"She is clean and empty," the vinegary Aunt announced, almost reluctantly.

"Then you may proceed," Donna Isabella decreed.

The five younger women grouped themselves round the body pinned to the table. Hands slid under the breasts to find nipples erect with tension and start to gently 'milk' them. Other fingers stroked the neck and shoulders. Still others drew gently along the insides of the white thighs, and more stroked the rounded swell of the tensed buttocks. The fingers that sought out the delicate stem of the clitoris where it nestled in the folds of the inner lips, were those of the girl's cousin, privately acknowledged among the Malcardi females, and those of some other houses as well, as skilled and knowing above most in such arts. To her was given the duty of coaxing the little bud into active life, despite the victim's distracting situation and her dislike of being forced to yield to another's uninvited caresses in this way. But resistance was in vain against the combination of the cousin's artful manipulation and the crying needs of her stressed body. In minutes she had yielded, her head lifting, giving the workers at her front even easier access to her breasts, her flanks heaving, her breath coming in short gasps until, at last, she surrendered with a series of shuddering spasms, accompanied by short honking noises from behind the mask. She dropped back onto the table but this was not an end, only a beginning. The fingers went to work again, stimulating her tender parts, stroking the erogenous zones made of easy access by her nudity and bondage. It took longer this time, but her resolve seemed to have weaken somewhat and, slowly but surely, they screwed her up to sufficient tension that she had to let it go in further spasms, more sounds of female passion.

Still they would not let her rest. The fingers went to work yet again, teasing the engorged teats, stroking on soft thigh flesh, gently squeezing buttocks due to receive a much fiercer caress shortly, gentling a throat destined to let forth shrieks of anguish before long. It was testing labour, for the woman was becoming sore now, and her reserves had been drawn, but she could not avoid some arousal, a nagging need that would not rise to its crest. Eventually she could stand the delay no longer and set herself to co-operate and have it done with, fixing her mind on the erotic pressure building in her groin, helping it to blossom until it spilt over in a pallid version of the eruptions she had experienced on the two previous crises. She slumped back onto the table, her energies drained from her, the magic spark that, in some mystic way, allows a woman's body to ride pain like pleasure and pleasure like pain, dissipated, her body merely meat.

Her tormentors recognised the change in her and set about the task for which they had so arduously prepared her. The Mother went first, taking a pliant length of cane and advancing on the bent and out-thrust buttocks. With a practised ease, born of long experience of the discipline of the faults of idle ladysmaids and erring daughters, she laced the pale stretched rounds until eight bright red tracks, slowly deepening as they matured, crossed the hitherto virgin territory. The woman grunted with each, but kept her cries in check, her head lifting a little on the last two cruel cuts which fell lowest on the underhang of the swelling rounds, but otherwise taking her cuts without reaction.

Now it was the turn of the Aunt, another skilled practitioner, who worked the ground laid out for her, sinking the rod into flesh already bruised and tumefied. The woman jerked at each assault, and the grunts through the cloth that covered her mouth were higher and more urgent. Sixteen cuts, laid with art in a narrow band some three inches wide, had left the woman vulnerable to even an amateurs strokes, and the cousin and the eldest sister of the raped girl drew equally sharp sounds of distress, as they found the rich thick target spread for them by their path-finder mothers, the woman jerking now so much her breasts left the table, and slapped down again as her body thrashed and writhed in her anguish.

The middle daughter, closest to her sister, who had felt her sibling's defilement and ravaging the most keenly, disdained the rod. Instead she found a long thick strap, the black leather, some two inches wide, heavy and supple with saddle soap and use. She took a chair and mounted the table, heedless of the leg she exposed on the way, and took her stance standing astride the recumbent form, facing the spread buttocks where they projected over the edge of the table.

"This is for Minetta's poor torn cunny," she almost spat the words, "I only wish I could cut your cunt right out, bitch. Then you'd know how she felt, all split and bleeding by that pig's horrid prick."

She raised the strap in both hands and brought it flashing down to land in the anal groove, the end whipping in to strike along the full length of the pouting vulva. This time the woman screamed, the sound muffled by the cloth over her mouth, her shoulders coming back, her face lifting up under the skirt of the young woman standing over her. Seven times more the stroke was repeated until, at the end, the screams had grown hoarse, and the woman lay slumped again, her shoulders heaving in time to her sobs. The belt and the leg restraints held her thighs open still, though she had fought desperately to close them and avoid the cruel lash that devastated her vulva, and now it could be seen that the labia had become bruised into purple knots, so swollen that they had open out to reveal the tender membranes between with, at their apex, the throbbing clitoris, already sore from the unwelcome administrations that had preceded the whipping and exposed to the full force of the later lashes by the blooming of the vulva, which had opened like a flower in the sun under the heat of the strapping it had to endure. All protection gone, the once secret bud had received the full force of the leather tip as it whiplashed between the open thighs, and mow it stood out swollen and blood blackened like a ripe cherry, its throbbing pain almost visible.

At a word from Donna Isabella, the women left the room. She followed after giving a discreet treble knock on the door which communicated with the next room. A minute later it opened and the woman, still strapped down to the table her, fiery buttocks wantonly displayed, was conscious that five men had entered.

"I see the women have prepared our meat well," one observed, "I'd never doubted they'd bake and baste it to fully. Take a look, lads," addressing the younger men, " Don't let anyone fool you that women are the tender sex. See what they are capable of if they're given their heads, and remember to keep a firm hand on your own females when the time comes. Remember the Arab saying-'when you go among women, take your whip'."

"Good advice, brother mine," agreed the victim's father, "They've certainly cut this one up. She's a tasty dish though, even if a trifle over-cooked. Who's to have her first?"

"Your privilege, I think, Roberto, after all, Minetta's your daughter and it’s your honour that's been besmirched. Then the boys. I'll take her last, when you've all softened her up for me."

They were brutal rapes. She was dry as a bone, there was no question of arousal after what she had endured and the way her sexual energy had been deliberately drained at the commencement of her martyrdom. All the help she got to take the thick hard length thrust roughly into her unready vagina, was the inadequate lubrication his lust had oozed from the Cyclops eye of his iron hard penis, and a trace of blood from a split in her labia, where it had given way under the repeated impacts of the heavy strap.

She grunted with pain at every stroke, and was thankful indeed when the man's deep rut brought him to spasm in a few minutes. Then she remembered her vulnerable womb against which his gouts of semen were jetting, and shuddered with new apprehension.

At least the young men were quick, their youthful lust lasting no longer than the father, their passage eased now by the flood of semen that had bathed her vagina, threatening her flat belly but, at least, providing some desperately needed lubrication. She awaited the Uncle with resignation, fearing for the added risk each man's discharge caused her but at least knowing she could accept a prick with little internal discomfort now, even if each savage thrust against her bruised labia made her gasp, each thumping blow of a hairy pelvis on her lacerated buttocks like another blow of a rod.

But it was not her dripping vagina that he entered. The monster penis he unsheathed from his britches nuzzled the dimple of her anus, and she shuddered and shrank, knowing what was to come, and her total

unpreparedness. He increased the pressure against the tender bud, as she ground her teeth in an effort to prevent herself screaming a protest, until he had forced the entrance enough for his dry tip to lie just inside the sphincter. She cringed anew as she felt him tense his loins, then let out the scream she had fought so hard to suppress as, with one great brutal surge of his hips, he drove through the tight gap deep into her rectum. He paused a moment, savouring his victory, then withdrew abruptly, leaving her feeling her guts had been sucked out with his retreating rod. Again he set the monstrous weapon against the inflamed bud and, his target marked, sank into her to the hilt in a single thrust. Three times more he withdrew, only to plunge back deep into her rectum, driving a scream from her each time, before settling to a steady rhythmic buggering, that had her sobbing and gasping, a fearful process that he seemed able to prolong at will. She was screaming weakly again, her head twisting from side to side, before he eventually gave her the relief of his copious discharge into her gut.

"A job well done," he observed calmly, as he withdrew and wiped himself on the cloak that had been left on a chair by the departing women, " she knows she's been buggered and her cunt knows it's been used by men too. That's how a woman should be, naked, buggered and knocked up too, with a bit of luck. When they get this one back, those Petraverdis will know we understand how to treat women, and your honour will be purged, Brother mine. Let's go get a drink to toast a deed well done." After they had gone, the woman was left in her bonds for several minutes before the same sister that had met her on her arrival, slipped into the room and examined the twitching body slumped over the table, the buttocks with their broad band of livid bruise spanning the swollen purple vulva, the sticky ooze dripping from it, threaded with scarlet from a lesion in one labia, and joined by another stained trickle from the inflamed and pouting anus. She passed her hand over the ravaged woman flesh, one finger finding and feeling the distended and blackened clitoris, and gave a sigh, whether of satisfaction or sympathy was not clear.

She sighed again, almost wistfully, then released the woman, wrapping the stained cloak around the trembling form. It was a moment or two before her legs would carry her properly, and then her escort hurried her, limping and reeling, back down the way she had come, less than two hours before, to bundle her into the waiting carriage.

Carlo returned after six weeks. By then her period and come and gone, quite normally, taking with it the nagging fear that she might have conceived, that had haunted her ever since that fearful night when she had sacrificed herself to save the honour of the Petraverdis and the blood of both houses. Her wounds had healed cleanly, as women will in such places, and she was ready for his caresses when he came to her the first night of his return. But first she had to make confession. He found her, not in her bed, her arms outstretched for him, but kneeling in a position of submission. Before she could greet him as a lover, she must address him as her Lord and Master.

"My Lord, much as I ache for your arms after all these weeks of your absence, there is something you must know, and forgive, before I can be yours freely,"

With bowed head, she recited all that had befallen that time just after his departure, the rape of the Malcardi girl, the threatened feud, how she had negotiated with Donna Isabella to avoid the seemingly inevitable blood-shed, and how she had paid the price by shedding her own.

He listened to her without interruption, though his features tightened when she told how she'd agreed to risk her belly being swollen with Malcardi seed. Finally, her tale was told.

"As you can see, I am none the worse, and all is well. My belly will not swell with that night's doings, and my body is clean and fit to serve you in love."

"You took too much upon yourself," he said at length, "You should have taken it to one of the remaining Petraverdi men in my absence." "There were none but boys left. And Uncle Julio," she added, "but what help would that poor old dear have been? How could he have let the Count's wife go to the Malcardis like that? He could only have forbidden it, and the gutters of Palermo would have run with blood. Besides, it was in a sense, women's work. A woman was the victim, and another had to suffer to wipe out the affront."

"You are wrong, it was men's affair, since the women are the responsibility of their Fathers and husbands, and the men's honour is stained. Besides, you cannot go unpunished for risking all that I hold most dear in the world."

He sighed.

"Ah. Bella, Bella, how am I gong to keep you from yourself? You are your own worst enemy. You need an anchor for your rash spirit still. Fetch me your rod but, first, take out that sponge you use to seal your womb. I had not thought to breed you yet, I have heirs enough, but perhaps the time has come."

With head still bowed, she put her fingers to her moist, engorged vulva and withdrew the sopping wad, then rose on unsteady feet and went to seek the black whalebone length that was her chief discipline.