Guinevere almost had to laugh. In love with two different men, and now it was a third who had her? She could call it fate or dark irony or conspiracy if she liked, but it did her no good. She could plead, she could beg, she could try to explain to Maleagant that she hadn’t loved him, would never love him, especially not now, she could say that if he let her go she would never tell who it was that had taken her- claim it was bandits seeking ransom- she could say anything in the world and it wouldn’t loosen the chains around her wrists. For all he claimed to love her, she wasn’t sure Maleagant was even listening to her words, so wrapped up as he was in gazing at her from her face to her shuddering body.
“I’ve waited so long to see you like this,” Maleagant said, and she believed him. Had he ever really wanted her as a wife, or only as a captive? She tried to study his face, but it had been so twisted by magic that she could only even recognize half of it. He was a being out of nightmares now, and even without him touching her, she felt as if his shadow itself was caressing her. She could feel cold pinpricks upon her arms where the shadows fell, and when she closed her eyes it was like being held down by a team of assailants.
“Look at me,” Maleagant commanded. When she only shut her eyes tighter, he grabbed her by the hair- perhaps she should be glad he only grabbed it close to the roots, but it hurt all the same. “I said, look at me!”
When Guinevere did open her eyes, it was to see his face practically touching her own. It would start with a kiss- wasn’t that how all love affairs started? And that was what Maleagant seemed to think this was. A love affair.
“Am I not as handsome as Lancelot?” he asked. “All this time, I thought you were refusing me as a good and loyal wife, but no. Arthur never had your heart any more than I did.”
“You will never understand,” she said, though she could barely manage to get the words out. “I do love Arthur. And I love Lancelot. And I will never love you.”
Then he did kiss her, hard and cruel, and Guinevere choked back a sob. If this was how things were to be, why had she ever allowed herself to hope? Why had life allowed her to escape marriage to him, to go years with the illusion of freedom, only to end up in his power after all? He pulled her into an embrace and pressed her so hard against him it would have felt painful even it wasn’t him, if it had been a man she would have been pleased to have in her arms. Not that she could have embraced him even if she wanted to- her hands were still chained in either direction, preventing her from moving anywhere from where her captor wanted. She could do nothing to stop him moving his hands along her breast, caressing her curves, taking any freedoms he wanted with her helpless body.
“Don’t love me, then” Maleagant whispered into her ear. “I love your contempt as much as your desire. And I will have you, willing bride or no.” She tried to yank her head away and he grabbed her by the chin, then moved his kisses down the side of her cheek. “I love you, no matter how much you hate me. You will understand that in time. And we will have a very long time together.”
“Lancelot will save me…” she said in what was meant to be a defiant growl but came out as a pathetic plea.
“Lancelot, Lancelot, Lancelot! Let him die fighting my men or fighting me, it doesn’t matter. If he ever sees you again, it will be as he lies dying. Perhaps I’ll take you in front of him, just so he knows how utterly he failed you.”
Guinevere snarled in outrage and Maleagant laughed. He kissed her again on the cheek, then on her neck, then to her horror on the top of her breasts. She cast an eye on the door locking her in, hoping for some last minute rescue, but it stayed firmly closed and resolutely locked. It was her and Maleagant and the dreadful shadows.
She could only kick wildly when Maleagant lifted her skirts, and she could hardly even do that without putting all her weight on her straining chained arms and crying out in pain. When his hand went between her legs she tried to squeeze her thighs closed, but that only pressed his fingers in closer to her.
“If you know what’s good for you,” he said as he teased her with the brush of his fingertips against her nerve endings, “you’ll stop struggling. The more you enjoy yourself now, the less it will hurt later.”
Part of her wanted to take his advice and try to get everything over with, part of her wanted to defy Maleagant to the last, and in the end Guinevere could do neither. She simply froze in fear, not knowing or caring why her body trembled under his touch. There was neither shame nor pleasure when she jerked and writhed as he manipulated the folds of her body, only a dim understanding that it was happening from far away. He did not have her heart. He did not have her mind. But he did have her body, and as it was, he could do anything he wanted with it.
When her responses satisfied him at last, Maleagant withdrew his hand with a look of triumph on his face. Guinevere wanted to tell him that it was not him she had responded to, only his touch, but all that came out when she opened her mouth was a soft murmured prayer. “Lancelot will save me, Lancelot will save me, Lancelot will save me…”
“Tell yourself that if it helps,” Maleagant said, and then his hands were working to undo his belt. Once she had dreaded her wedding night with him, thinking that it would kill her to lie with a hated enemy. At least that wedding night would have been in a soft bed, her head made light with wine from the wedding feast. Never in her darkest dreams had she thought he would have her in chains.
This was it. This was what it really meant to have her freedom stripped away from her. Once and for all, hope was lost. Her dream was dead.
Tears trickled down her face when she saw him finish with his belt. She cast one last, desperate look at the door- nothing. If Arthur had even realized she was gone yet and sent Lancelot to rescue her, he was nowhere to be seen. No one was going to save her from this.
Again Maleagant’s hands lifted her skirts, this time moving her hips so as to position himself. He kissed her again and then there was a painful shove and Guinevere shrieked. Perhaps if she could be sick, it would disgust him too much to continue, but as it was he only laughed and grunted, thrusting in and out of her rhythmically and with a practiced ease. The pain subsided quickly- he had been right when he said preparing her would ease things- but the revulsion only grew. Her knees shook and her body wanted to collapse, but still those damnable chains kept her standing.
“You feel like a virgin,” Maleagant told her between gasps. “We’re having our wedding night after all. And we’ll have so much time together...so many new things to try...there’s bound to be one that will make you scream with pleasure and not mere violation.” She could only cry in response, feeling even worse when he placed a mockery of a comforting kiss upon her forehead. Her stomach was clenching and unclenching in a sick sensation, a mixture of relief and disgust, and she only realized what her body was doing when it was too late.
I am not doing this, she thought. It is my body, it is not me. Oh god, help me! She wanted to scream for Lancelot, for Arthur, for anyone who would find and help her, but her throat was raw and her eyes were blurred with tears and she knew they would not hear her, even if they were approaching the castle. They would not be there in time to stop him. If they found her at all, this would be how they would find her.
Maleagant licked her cheek, and she was too tired to even pull away. She only wanted this nightmare to end. Her body was still convulsing, and now the feeling of him inside her was making her sore. In a way, it was better than the pleasure, for she could be only angry and not afraid of what he could force her to do to herself. But even anger felt beyond her. There was power in anger, and Guinevere felt no power as Maleagant took her. How long would he last? How much would he put her through before he would allow her a reprieve? He was hurting her, he had to know he was hurting her, how could he claim to love her and still make her feel this way? She wanted to pass out, but the chains kept her upright and forbade her even that route of escape.
“Oh my love,” Maleagant breathed as he pushed into her cruelly again and again, “oh my dear sweet love. Oh, you’re warm and tight, I cannot contain myself any longer…”
And he shuddered to a climax clasped between her thighs. Another scream from Guinevere died into a sob, as he panted and pulled his clothing to rights.
“Do not worry, my darling,” he said, running his hand through her hair. “You will not be lonely. I have waited years for you. You can wait just a little longer, and we’ll have all night to practice together.”