I thought I was getting a new car, turns out I was wrong.
I wouldn't be too optimistic, if I were you. You have, after all, rebelled against him and murdered two of his tax collectors."
She glowered at him, yet refused to speak.
"Did you search her?"
The same man answered, his companion merely nodding in agreement. "We frisked her, and she fought us like a female possessed. You should call a priest, my Lord, I wouldn't be surprised if she harbored a devil."
Chuckling, Roland shook his head. "I very much doubt so. Did you take off her boots?" The soldier cleared his throat, embarrassed. He was a member of the Reformed Religion and believed women were sin. "No, we just checked her clothing..."
Roland's smile vanished. "This isn't good enough. Do you know our King's father was stabbed with a knife that had been hidden in his murderer's boot? His Majesty himself will visit me later today to meet our prisoner, you would put HIS life at risk with your negligence? Pull off her shoes and socks now!"
Crestfallen, the two mercenaries crouched and grabbed the girl's feet. Roland watched with interest as she hissed and kicked uselessly at them. It turned out he was right. Two slim blades were laced around her calves and another pair hidden in the boot's soles.
"Hold her head." Roland was fast enough to avoid getting hit when she spat at him. He undid her plait, and a long needle fell down.
The vocal Swiss whistled. "She is armed to up her teeth! Well, even her teeth are weapons..."
Roland stood up and tilted his head. He doubted they had found everything. He had to conduct a more thorough , intimate search and for this he would have to undress her.
He knelt on her legs, caught her face in his hands, and brought his mouth close to her ear. "The King put me in charge of finding you, lovely Sabine. I know that you were raped and beaten by a band of mercenaries pretending to act on his orders. It wasn't true. They had been sent by Concini. I know that they left you for dead and burnt your castle. Which is why you went on a rampage and swore revenge, and why the King wants to judge you himself. Now, I have to disrobe you to ensure you are not concealing more weapons. I can have these gentlemen do it in front of me, or I can send everyone out and do it myself. Just you and me. I am willing to offer you this because I believe you have suffered enough, and deserve some privacy. But I don't care either way. So choose, my sweet, and do it fast. My time is precious."
His voice was barely a whisper but she heard it loud and clear. Sabine shivered. She didn't want to be touched, neither by him, nor by his henchmen. Yet she did not wish for more humiliation. Besides, he would have to untie her to get her clothes off. He looked strong, yet one man was a challenge she could win, and maybe escape.
Slowly, she nodded. "You alone, please." Those three words crushed her pride, and she lowered her gaze to the floor in shame. She had sworn to herself that she would not beg a man again, and she had relented on her promise.
Roland's hand caressed her sore cheek and lifted her chin. "Do not resist and it will be over fast. No matter what, I won't hurt you, Sabine, you have my word."
He had the soldiers carry her to the blanket by the hearth before sending them to wait outside, with his page and valet. As the door closed, Sabine's heart sank. Here she was, helpless into a male's power, again. Her mind began to spin and her breathing became erratic. She couldn't bear this. She twisted, pulling on her bounds and hurting her shoulders.
"Shh, calm down. Here, drink."
A goblet of fresh water was pressed against her lips and she gulped it nervously. "I am not a savage, I don't force women. For me to take you, you will have to ask, prettily."
She nearly choked. "Don't flatter yourself , I would never. I doubt any ever did..."
He chortled. "You would be surprised, my dear. This, however, isn't the point. I need to strip you. Are you ready?"
She glared at him.