by Trenchcoat Tardigrade
It happened in our marital chamber on the day we wed, after all lords and ladies had left, that he pulled the box from the pocket of his doublet. Its ruby encrusted edges caught the candlelight and shimmered in reply.
“Here, my dear wife, is my final gift to you on this day. Long was the journey and high was the coin, but it is, and will remain, the only of its kind. Wear it all of your days.”
His sword-worn hands lifted the lid to reveal a scarlet, satin lining, a piece of fine parchment, and a large diamond broach. The single teardrop-shaped clear diamond was set in gold and adorned with the most meticulous filigree that my eyes had ever fallen upon. I seized the parchment, noting the elegant script upon it.
Youthful beauty, a cherished sight;
Untouched vigor of marriage night.
Never lost with prices paid
From the bosom of purest maid.
Mount this gem upon thy breast
And fear ye not death’s request.
It was then that he pinned the broach to my bustier, the point piercing my chest slightly enough to stain my garment with a single drop of blood. He grinned at my flinch and began again to speak.
“To all the world, you are countess over my lands, but I see what they do not. I know what stirs deeper than your loins. I have long grasped the truths that you attempt to stow behind your heart. It was but a prick, but it is much more. It bound you to the stone, and until your death, the stone to you.”
“My lord, I fail to understand. What is this sorcery that you speak of?”
“Sorcery it is, cast by the illustrious vizier of a land far beyond your knowing. What I have gifted you is no mere bauble of which replicas could be bought by the dozen.”
A glint crossed his eyes as he brought the discussion to an end and claimed my maidenhead as if I were a beast. With his seed deep within my womb I lay on the bed for the night’s slumber.
Across the years I wore the jewel as he desired. On occasion, I was pleased to see that a servant had failed to perform their duties to my satisfaction. To my displeasure, my staff learned speedily, and I was often forced to find error where none existed. Despite an increase in intensity of reprimands, I only found my blood lust to be calmed but never sated.
It was a grim autumn day when a young maiden began her post as my new chambermaid. That child was of the most useless variety, unable even to pour wine without spilling. My lash tasted her flesh three times in as many days. Such a fresh-faced beauty could not be other than unspoiled, and it was of this that I inquired. One of my husband’s pages brought affirmation before week’s end. Her father had shipped her off to my service as soon as a ruffian began calling upon her.
That eve I ordered my senior handmaids to observe silently as she was instructed to warm the water for my bath. As expected, the first urn poured over my naked flesh brought with it a chill. I had had enough of such incompetence. My bosom burned for the release I had been allowed but had yet to embrace. On my word she was stripped of blouse and pinned across the edge of my washing tub by two maids while a third brought my broach and dagger.
With the broach resting on my sex I lifted her head to watch the terror fill her eyes as I carved through the underside of one of her breasts and then the other. Her screams were exquisite as I lathered with the virginal blood. My eyes closed as the jewel sent orgasmic tremors emanating to every fiber of my painted body. In blinded ecstasy, I gripped tight the dagger and tore it through her throat. My screams replaced hers as I showered in the spray. Not until her body gave no more nectar did I witness the terror on the faces of my remaining chambermaids.
“Fear not,” I comforted as I rose and sauntered closely around each of them, “each of you is soiled. Your deaths would be more bothersome in having to replace each of you. Instead, you will assist in replacing her. Make it known that I have decided to take on the rearing of maidens among the commoners. Speak not a word of what you have witnessed, or you will wish that you were still intact.”
With that I instructed them to wash and dress me so that I could retire to my bed chamber. As I fastened my broach in place I yearned for my dear count to not be off to war. He would have been pleased to know that I had finally found the convenience to use his lovely gift to its fullest.
To my pleasure, he rode into my dreams. The flooring was covered in blood and dismembered bodies as he took me in the bestial way that he so craved upon returning from campaign. The crimson pools streamed to us as I lapped them up between the screams expected of a taken lady. With a final grunt he filled me with his deposit and discarded me to the floor before vanishing back to lead his troops in battle. I awoke with that familiar iron taste on my tongue.
It was the following day that I sent pageboys to surrounding homesteads in search of maidens to be trained by myself, a courtesy that was less than expected by commoners. The response was expected. Within two days each of the four servants returned with an offering, only one having had to visit a second peasant household. Upon arrival each was shown to their quarters and outfitted appropriately for receiving attention from one of such high regard as I.
Over the course of the month each had left my service to fulfill a greater calling. To the general staff, they had left of their own accord. To my most trusted handmaids, the truth was known. To me, they fueled the most immodest of dreams. Yet, it was my broach that they had most affected as each sacrifice tinted the gem slightly pink, a feat that I remained in ignorance of for months until my lord passed the comment as we supped one evening between his military forays. With a wolfish grin he expressed satisfaction that his gift was no longer being neglected as a simple ornament.
“Neglect it has not known my lord. Only opportunity has lacked through the years, but I now have established a way of feeding from the most pure of bosoms.”
As we dined I informed him how I was gaining access to maidens each month. He applauded my success and requested participation at the earliest convenience. Not one to deny my husband the fulfillment of any whim, I sent word immediately. Each month the pages were forced to ride further than the proceeding one. With a smile, I begged a week’s patience, of which he granted.
It was eight days before the first messenger returned with my gift to him. She was nervous, struggling to keep her long, dirt colored hair out of her face as she failed to keep her eyes from shifting around the hall. The count spoke up after watching her squirm.
“We are taking her with us. Send any other arrivals to their rooms. We will meet with them in the morning.”
Upon entering my bathing room, she began to protest when the order was given for her to be stripped and restrained to the wall. My husband and I disrobed and approached the crying girl with a gilded dagger in his hand and the broach in mine.
“Fear not, my young one. You should be honored to be such a gift to our lord.”
We laughed at her continued attempts to protest. I caressed her cheek as I assured her that her maidenhead would remain untouched and that she was only to serve as a means to enhance our pleasure while he took me. I ran my tongue across her throat and pressed my naked body against hers. I continued tasting her while he took position behind me. I could feel his shaft being guided into my sex and with one firm thrust he was buried within. Her scream rang out as my teeth provided a gush of blood upon my lips.
His growls could barely be heard through her cries as he forced himself into me harder and faster with each thrust. I drank from the wound in her neck as she lost the strength to fight. Not wanting her early death to deny his part, he brought forth the blade and severed what remained of her throat. The blood surged with each of the final beats of her heart as he pressed tightly against me and pumped his seed into me.
The next day he received word of an imminent battle that he was to lead in a distant land. I pledged to have a collection of girls to choose from upon his return. That pledge was never to be fulfilled as word arrived that he had been unhorsed and his corpse added to the pyre. Upon receipt of that grim message I submitted to the necessity of mourning in public and the need to quench my rage in private.
No longer would I waste time toying with my prey and never again would I be without a source of fulfillment. I decided to cast out all of my manservants with explicit orders to send their quarry to me and to continue their search. Only when the coin in their pockets required replenishment would they be allowed the crossing of my threshold. In haste they set upon their tasks under fear of a most agonizing death.
It did not take long before a steady flow of succulent young maidens began to arrive, often two or three in as week. Upon arrival, each would be brought to my chamber and prepared for my indulgence. As if a wild dog on a stag, I pounced. My claws and teeth shredded whatever flesh came within their reach. The screams would echo through the halls, but to my ears only the pumping of the heart could be heard as it raced and fell to a halt.
It was on a fateful day that one of the manservants returned with word that he could travel no farther in his search without crossing into lands of which hostilities may be found. Gradually, the same report was brought to my court by others. My supply had exhausted itself, but my hunger was unsatisfied. I pondered over my situation for many days as fewer and fewer maidens arrived.
Months had passed and no longer was I receiving offerings. My thirst grew with each passing day and tempted as I was to utilize my staff, I knew that only the blood of virgins would sate me. The gemstone, now a vibrant red, no longer radiated the warmth the surged through my innards. It only called to me for more.
It was with the announcement of a neighboring lord and lady concerning the betrothal of their youngest child that I was able to devise a new scheme. Without pause, I instructed my most vigorous pages of their new duties.
“I want each of you to ride to the homes of my neighboring nobles and announce of a gathering for any maidens of the house. Tell of my sorrow and desire for polite conversation in the loss of my dearest husband. Ask that the lords and ladies themselves not be inconvenienced, for I long for the feeling of youth once more. Offer that I shall house any for the term of one month, after which the gathering may be extended indefinitely at the convenience of all involved. As they will not be commoners, you must accompany them here.”
As expected, my invitation was acknowledged and soon my dining hall was filled with young maidens of noble houses. I would savor those delicacies, as they were savoring the wine from my finest cask. Offering them to drink their fill, they acquiesced until each had reached deep slumber. The symphony of screams brought to life the castle as each of my guests awoke in the morning to find shackles binding them in the damp bowels of the manor.
One-by-one, on my command, they were brought to my chamber to have their throat and wrists sliced open to contribute to the filling of my bathing tub. It was dreadful how little the combined contribution of all seventeen corpses provided, but not one to value wastefulness I slid into the puddle with my broach in hand.
I coated every inch of my naked flesh in the tantalizing fluid and drank of it from my cupped hands. The warmth of the broach emanated through the basin as I gripped it tightly against my sex and worked it about as a woman possessed. The combined tension of luxurious warmth and carnal orgasmic bliss was released from my lips to surge throughout the countryside.
Never again was I destined to gain such release. I knew not that the words of one traitorous manservant had already orchestrated my fall from grace.
With the break of day over the horizon, as I slept in my blood-coated bathing tub, a collection of lords with accompanying guards brandishing full battle armaments stormed my gates. Their cries of outrage stirred me from my slumber. I ordered the gate lifted and met the entourage in the great hall without cleansing or clothing myself. My fate, I knew, was sealed. I offered no resistance as they stormed from room to room in search of the source from where the dried blood covering my body came.
My trial and sentencing were carried out in haste. My most loyal handmaids, those who had so obediently assisted each of my indulgences, were separated from their heads and brickwork began in the windows of my chamber. My own head, too illustrious to be removed, was to never again cross the threshold of my private quarters.
It has been within the confines of that chamber that I have spent the past four years, ignorant of whether day or night was upon the outside world. Meals of meat and mead are delivered thrice daily, but not a taste of even the most feeble beasts’ blood has been provided to satisfy the thirst that has amplified through my bosom as the broach has remained in place. Now, in this final of my days I dishonor his wishes. No longer can I retain my elegance in the face of such yearning. I fear to become the true beast that he saw me as before my final breath shall escape my lungs.
To whomever shall find this notice, I will my lands. Claim them, whether through diplomacy or violence I care not. Only my favored broach, the diamond of garnet brilliance that I lay upon this statement, shall be handled with the careful reverence that is deserving of such a majestic item. It is to be locked away in the jeweled box found in my wardrobe and hidden in such a place as no person shall find in hopes that a future maiden may one day discover it and make it her own. As I retire to my final slumber, by my own hand, I dread not the fate of my soul.
With my signature I declare these words true and final.
Countess Elizabeth Bathory