The summons came late at night. Just as they had the night she left home. The heavy sound of heels on stone like an echo of the pounding on the wooden door in the dead of winter. It was past midnight, and the other girls had all gone to sleep, but she was awake, waiting.
Her time at the castle had been short -- for surely tonight would be her last. Spring had not even yet come, and she had only arrived in the darkest days of winter. It was not uncommon for the young women of the village to be summoned to Castle Dimitrescu in service of the Mistress, and it was not uncommon for them to never be heard from again.
She had not wanted to go. The castle was unwelcoming, dark and foreboding, with endless spires that disappeared into the mist. Every girl that had entered the castle had disappeared, and no amount of pleading from the village would give them answers.
But there was no denying the Lady Dimitrescu. She had sent men in the night, through the wind and snow, just to take her from her bed and bring her to the castle.
Louder and louder the footsteps approached. The door opened, heavy wood scraping across the stone floor. A few of the other girls stirred in their sleep as candlelight flickered from the hall.
Lady Daniela. Her painted black lips curled into a wicked gleam when she found exactly who she was searching for sitting on the side of the bed. Waiting.
“Mother wants to speak with you,” she said.
The Mistress of Dimitrescu herself. The maiden’s blood turned to ice in her veins. It was as bad as she feared. She had been berated on many occasions by the young ladies of the house for her missteps. Among all of the girls who worked at Dimitrescu Castle, she was among the weakest, frail and clumsy. Her frequent mistakes had made her an easy target for the sisters and their wicked punishments.
But she had never been brought before Mistress Dimitrescu before. And now she knew her fate.
Those bottles. Those damn bottles. Dark glass gleaming in the firelight. The kegs and decanters. The sly smiles of the ladies as they brought their goblets to their lips. Underneath the thick, sweet aroma there was no masking the metallic smell.
Sanguis Virginis . She had uncovered their secret. It wasn’t very well hidden to begin with, but she had refused to see that which was right in front of her until she had no other choice.
And when the Mistress had demanded a drink, asked her to fetch a glass, her hands had shook so badly with the knowledge of just what she was serving.
The bottle had crashed against the tile. Red spilling across the floor. She had cut herself on the glass trying to clean it, and could not even see where her blood had mixed with the wine.
And now she was to die. There was no forgiveness for wasting The Mistress’s precious wine. She would make up for what she had spilled by becoming the next harvest.
Numbly, she followed Lady Daniela up to the Mistress’s private chambers. The stone and wood of the servants wing gave way to dark wood and smooth tile and then to gilded filigree. Lady Daniela was quiet, but she did not bother to hide her gleeful expression. She would delight in whatever torment awaited the young maiden. Among all of the sisters, she was always the cruelest.
She pushed open the double doors to the Mistress’s chamber, and the maiden took a few tentative steps inside.
Mistress Dimitrescu was sitting in front of the fire. Even sitting on the sofa, she was eye level to the maiden. She remembered the first time she had seen the Mistress after coming to the castle, the fear and awe she had felt. Tall enough that she had to kneel to pass through any door. Pale, white skin. Her senses were more keen than anyone the maiden had ever met. She couldn’t be mortal, but that was impossible. Just like everything else at the castle.
Lady Dimitrescu stood as the maiden entered; her white silk dressing gown looked much softer than the stiff fabric of the maidservant’s dress. She was breathtaking, silky black hair curling around her jaw, bright golden eyes. Skin like porcelain, smooth as the silk she wore. Even without her dark makeup and painted lips, she was powerful, intimidating.
“Mistress,” the maiden bowed low. Surely the racing of her heart was audible to the Mistress, who seemed to hear and see everything that happened on the castle grounds.
“Little one,” Mistress Dimitrescu’s voice was melodic and saccharine, pitying. Far from the shrill, gleeful giggles of her daughters.
“Leave us, My Daughter, I would like a word with our little one here.” Her words surprised the maiden, who was sure that her punishment would be a public affair.
Lady Daniela huffed. Clearly she was anticipating the same. Still, she obeyed the orders of her mother.
The door clicked shut, and Mistress Dimitrescu sat back on the white sofa. She delicately patted the seat next to her. “Come sit.”
The maiden did as she was told, carefully sitting on the edge of the cushion, stiff and awkward as she kept her eyes to the floor.
“The girls tell me you’ve had a hard time adjusting to life in the castle,” she said.
There was nothing the maiden could do but nod, her voice was trapped in her throat. She was certain the Mistress was going to kill her. Whatever terrible process created that horrible elixir, she was soon to find out.
“It can be hard to get used to such a change, but you have shown a lot of potential.” She recrossed her legs, silk swishing with the motion. “You’ve made a few mistakes, and that has cost us, but you can always repay the damage.”
The maiden shuddered. She didn’t want to know how much that bottle was worth. The acrid smell still burned in the back of her throat. It had taken hours to scrub the stains from her skin.
“Worry not,” Mistress Dimitrescu cooed. “You have everything you need.” She plucked a bottle from the side table, it looked so small in her hands. The sight made the maiden wince.
“Don’t be afraid.” She insisted again. She set two crystal goblets on the low table before the sofa. The pop of the cork did little to ease the maiden’s nerves, nor did the sound of the thick liquid pouring into the glasses. “It’s hard to know just how wonderful it is until you’ve had a taste.”
She picked up her own glass, swirling the dark liquid before taking a drink. Her dark eyes watched the maiden over the rim of the glass.
“Come, my dear. You do remember you have to make up for the bottle that you broke.” She leaned in closer, pale lips now stained with red. “Do as I say, and drink. It’s a rare honor for one such as you to taste the pride of the Dimitrescu name.”
The maiden nodded, but still didn’t reach for the glass. Her eyes were wide, fingers pressed into her thighs. Mistress Dimitrescu tapped her tongue to the back of her teeth. “I see,” she mused. She brought the glass to her lips once more, and reached forward for the young maiden. She wrapped her fingers over the back of her neck and tilted her head back, squeezing her jaw until her lips parted.
The Mistress leaned in, pressing her lips to the maiden’s and licking into her mouth. Her tongue was still coated in the damned drink. The young maiden had no choice but to drink from the kiss, moaning and struggling gently against her hold. She knew it was futile.
The drink was potent, heady. The flavor burned on her tongue and in her throat, thick and sticky. Mistress Dimitrescu moaned soft and low. “That’s a good girl,” she crooned as she pulled away. “Isn’t it wonderful? My pride and joy -- aside from the girls of course.” She watched the maiden’s eyes, watched her cheeks flush and her pupils widen. A drop of wine slipped from the corner of her lips and The Mistress licked it up carefully.
Not releasing her hold on the girl, she brought her own glass to the maiden’s lips. “Don’t spill, little one.”
Unable to do anything else, the maiden drank. Her eyes fluttered shut as the liquid burned through her. It was terrifying -- how quickly the wine took its hold. When The Mistress finally pulled away she was breathless and dizzy.
“That’s a good girl.” The words only heated her blood more, and she gazed at Lady Dimitrescu with adoration and want.
“Mistress…” she whispered, “may I have some more?”
Mistress Dimitrescu chuckled, low and warm. “Not just yet.” She pulled the maiden to her, practically lifting her off the sofa so she could bring their lips together. This time, the maiden was eager, seeking out that strange flavor on her Mistress’s tongue.
She let the maiden succumb to the drink, running her hands over her skin and digging her fingers into her hips. When the poor girl finally pulled away for breath she was panting and flushed, desperate for anything The Mistress would give her.
“Now, now,” The Mistress soothed her, stroking her face gently with her long, delicate fingers. “It’s time you began your repayment.”
She gently lowered the young girl so she was on the floor before her, kneeling at her feet. Slowly, she untied the fasten of her dressing gown, delighting in how the maiden’s eyes stayed transfixed on the motion of her hands. The silk parted, revealing the soft expanse of her breasts and stomach. She was a venus of the underworld.
The mistress pulled the dressing gown aside, uncrossing her legs and parting her thighs. She was completely bare. Wet. She had been aroused from the moment she decided the poor maiden’s fate.
“Go on,” she encouraged, winding her fingers in the maiden’s hair and pulling her in close.
The maiden leaned forward tentatively, already drunk off the wine and even more intoxicated by the woman before her. She pressed a gentle kiss to the inside of her thigh. The skin was so soft. Inch by inch, she trailed soft, wet kisses towards where The Mistress needed her most.
Without the effects of the wine, the poor maiden would be paralyzed with fear. She knew the danger she was in, but a burning desire had taken hold of her, and she wanted nothing more than to do everything Mistress Dimitrescu asked of her.
Desperate to please, she pressed her lips and tongue against The Mistress’s pussy. It was clumsy at first, as she kissed and sucked experimentally, searching for praise and low moans of pleasure.
The Mistress did not hesitate to guide her, holding her in place with her strong grip and whispering instruction. The maiden herself let out small, pleased sounds in response to every gasp or moan. She wanted to please, wanted to serve.
Her own desire was aching, like nothing she had ever known before. Still, she pushed past her own need in favour of her Mistress.
“Such a good girl.” She was rewarded with a soft caress and sweet words. “Make me come. That’s it little one.”
So the maiden doubled her efforts, she dragged her tongue through the wet heat of her Mistress. Every shake of her thighs and roll of her hips and hitch of her breath was an encouragement.
And when she came, she pulled on the maiden’s hair and held her firmly in place and took her own pleasure until she was satisfied.
The maiden sat back on her heels, lips and chin dripping and glistening in the firelight. She gasped for air, eyes glassy and unfocused.
The Mistress composed herself much quicker, pulling her dressing gown closed and tying it once more. “You did very well, little one,” she said with a softer smile than the maiden had ever seen before.
“Please,” the maiden begged, not even entirely sure what she was asking for. “Please, Mistress.”
She was more desperate than ever before in her life, blood thrumming with arousal and shaking with want. Beneath her skirts her thighs were soaked.
“Oh come here,” The Mistress lifted the young girl back to the sofa, delicately wiping her lips with an embroidered linen square. “Have another drink,” she pressed one of the crystal goblets into her hands, eyes shining and eager as the young girl quickly drained it all.
But that wouldn’t sate her. The drink made her dizzy, and tired, but she still wanted. “Mistress,” she tried again. “I need- I need…” she trailed off unsure how to ask. She had never known desire like this before. And it would be improper of the Mistress. And her thoughts were so cloudy from the wine.
The Mistress tsked and grabbed the maiden’s hand where it was unconsciously reaching for the hem of her skirt. “I know what you want,” she said, voice dripping with pity, “but you must stay pure. We can’t have you sullied and dirty. Your blood is perfect just like this. You smell so sweet.”
The words sparked fear somewhere underneath the haze in her mind, but all she could think of was the Mistress’s strong grip on her wrist. She needed her touch.
“Here,” the Mistress pulled her close, nearly on her lap. The closeness didn’t erase her desire, but it soothed the ache. “Lay back just a bit, why don’t you drink some more? Won’t that help?”
Of course. More wine. The maiden let the liquid flow past her lips, held against her Mistress’s bosom and drinking from her glass.
The room spun, and then fell into darkness.
When she woke, it was to the sound of low voices. The Mistress. Lady Daniela. She couldn’t open her eyes, nor move her limbs, but she strained to hear their conversation.
“You can take her downstairs. She’s so ripe, so precious.” The Mistress sounded overjoyed. “I can’t wait to taste her.
“Yes, Mother.” Lady Daniela did not sound as enthusiastic. There was the sound of footsteps, and then the maiden was being lifted, carried through the halls. The gentle sway lulled her back to sleep. She wondered if she would ever wake again.