A Jest Too Far…
His one eye opens slowly, his other eye only opens a bit from the bruise just starting to show. His cheek is badly swollen. Carefully he raises his hand to his face and can feel the large bump that throbs as he touches it. He tries to focus on the ceiling above him. The stark, dirty wood rafters slowly come into focus. His other senses tell him more than he needs to know. It is the smell of sweat, blood, urine, and a hint of cleaners that fill his nostrils. He groans. "Not unexpected," he thinks to himself. His body is on the hard packed earth floor; his arm is just touching the leg of the bunk beside him. After a moment he moves as he attempts to discover if any of his limbs are broken or twisted.
Taking a deep breath he stands up and gets a good look around. It’s just a touch worse than he thought. He's standing in a cell of the castle dungeon; just not his usual cell. The door here is just black steel bars not the wooden door that he normally would see. He’s been thrown here with the common prisoners and not members of the court. He’s in trouble and he knows it. The spaces between the bars in the door are only source of light from the outside room.
Jester can just make out the torches set in the sconces as they flicker from the cool breeze that wafts from the stairway. Scanning the room, Jester looks at the scratched, rough-hewn granite and mortar walls. He feels a shiver when he looks closer at the bunk he awoke beside. He clearly sees scratch marks on the bed where a prisoner’s hands must have been pried from it. The bloodstains appear fresh on the threadbare mattress. The rest of the cell is like the one he’s used to; a hole in the floor for waste, a small basin with water in it, and a broken piece of mirror.
Taking a few steps to get to the mirror, he looks at his face. The left side is badly swollen and black and blue from the punch he received. All he can think to himself is, "Who would have thought a queen that large could move that fast?” His white face paint has been smeared and rubbed off in some areas. The purple diamonds painted onto his face that surround his eyes appear crooked from the way his one eye has begun to close shut. The only thing he has left is his perpetual smile and it, too, looks a tad strange from the swelling.
He runs his fingers over the old scars that give him his grin. These had been given to him before he can remember. He keeps his brown hair short for a reason. He looks away from the mirror to see how the rest of his body has fared, looking at his well-toned yet little body that is somewhat below average height. Taking a deep breath he feels mild bruising, and some discomfort. He looks at his bright purple, and orange colored tunic; it has some rips, and tears, as does his colored leggings. His green boots appear to still be in good condition, just a couple of scuffs, and missing a bell or two. On the bunk is his tri-colored hat undamaged, tossed in with him as an afterthought.
Now he sits on the bunk and takes his hat in his hand, and lets out a deep sigh. The little Jester begins to talk to his hat.
"Well, all things considered it could be worse. I just did as my queen asked. Poke a bit of fun at her sister in-law." He stands up, and paces his cell while still talking to his hat lying on the bunk.
"I had the house in stitches didn’t I? Just not the visiting queen; once her little runt of a fool clued her in to my poem. My cousin… he’s always such a snitch." He sits back down, and finishes his thought. "At least I should be out of here in the morning after she has left. Though I wonder, this being in a common cell not a secluded one for the members of court, if this might have been one jest too far?"
His hat gives him no answers, not that he was expecting one. A shiver runs up his spine as he hears heavy footsteps coming from down the corridor.
A large silhouette blocks out most of the light as the Jester looks up from his hat. He realizes this time he may have more to worry about than what he said. Standing on the other side of the bars is a physique Jester would know anywhere. A large muscular frame fills the doorway, as does the outfit of dark red leather and red face mask that covers half of the big man’s face. The small Jester can see the matching pants, boots, and his gloves with spikes on the knuckles. His bare chest is just starting to show a lack of physical exertion the job used to give him.
Looking down at the Jester the Dungeon Master cannot believe his eyes. The court fool in a common cell? Injured before being thrown into it? He isn’t certain what to say as he looks at Jester, whose face is a mix of shock, fear, and uncertainty. Both men lock an eye; a connection is made that tells them both this is new ground, and the resolution is not going to be good.
Dungeon Master thinks over the past year, how he's had to escort Jester to a private cell in a separate block until things blow over. During that time they came to develop a decent friendship – as far as their roles allowed. At times, when Jes, as he refers to him, went out into the city beyond the castle walls without his costume, the below average-sized man would put aside the colors and face paint and join him for a drink, and even fight alongside him when the need should arise.
Jester takes a shaky breath looks at his friend, and asks. “I’m in deep trouble, aren’t I?”
Dungeon Master tries to think of a response, and to ask several questions of Jester. Before the big man can respond, the air is pierced by an outraged, high-pitched shriek.
"There they are! We've been waiting for the guards to bring you to us!” the voice screams.
Both Jester and Dungeon Master know that voice that gives way to the crisp sound of heels clicking on the stone floor, followed by the sounds of metal on metal on metal, and leather creaking. The torches flicker from the passing of the bodies.
Dungeon Master turns around, wearing a cold, blank expression on his face to greet his important guests. Standing before him is his Queen and former mistress Lady Jade, and her sister-in-law Queen Garnet whom he serves. Dungeon Master thinks of her as a “stuffed porcelain doll” in a royal gown of spun red silk. Several guards accompany the two. Dungeon Master bows lowly to his queen. It is then that he notices another member of the party—a hunched over, scrawny little whippet of a man wearing a red, and blue jester costume giving him the appearance of a brightly colored rat. It is Jester’s cousin.
After Queen Garnet gestures to him to rise he looks only at her and asks: “My Queen, what crime has our Jester committed? What punishment does her majesty feel he deserves for said crimes?"
Queen Garnet sighs as she glances over at her sister-in-law who is now turning redder for being ignored by Dungeon Master. She looks at him imploring him with her eyes, carefully she balances her words well or it could go terribly ill for all involved.
"It seems my esteemed Sister-in- law took our entertainment as offensive.” she says, pointing to the large angry woman. “It is our opinion that Jester needs to learn his place. That is his crime."
"It was mocking me in a brutal way while you all laughed," the woman says in controlled anger as she picks up her little fool like a pet. "If it wasn't for my little fool here. I would have been oblivious to the shame your entertainment was putting me through."
“He implied that my honor could be called into question, and he
likened my voice to that of a crow and common ass... but couched it in sweet words so as to not be immediately apparent…”
“I found the poem amusing until my little fool uncovered the meaning behind Its foolery, and that it was I who was truly the object of ridicule.” She glared at her sister-in-law. “My good cousin coddles her fool”.
Queen Jade sees a look of disbelief on Dungeon Master’s face.
Carefully, Queen Garnet turns to her sister-in-law.
“Dear Sister…” Garnet implores.
“NO!” Jade screams. “NO! Not this time. No! This time I demand of you satisfaction, and if I have it not, I can promise you, my brother and your king, lord, and husband will never hear the end of this!”
Dungeon Master looks at the Rat in his costume with a cool disdain. He feels Jesters anger from behind him. He speaks up to his royal guest. "I understand. What do you have in mind as punishment?" He asks her, his voice showing no emotion; his mask hiding his contempt for her pet. He doesn’t look at Queen Garnet so that she doesn’t have to answer.
"We want It Stripped of Its clothing as It stripped me of my dignity. We want It battered and bloody so It remembers Its place in front of his betters! We further demand that It apologize in the grand dining hall in the morning if It lives; We assume you can keep It alive long enough to meet my demands?" The large Queen Jade yells at Dungeon Master. She lifts her finger, and strokes the side of his face, in a familiar, and almost tender way. Her tone changes to calm, and cold. “You and I have an understanding, don’t we Dungeon Master?”
Dungeon Master’s lips part as if to say something but then they close, and he nods his head. His eyes catch a single tear escape Queen Garnets eye as it runs down her flawless skin; she too nods her head in agreement to the punishment. With this he nods his head, and bows to his queen again.
"It will be done majesty. He will live the night, although he may wish otherwise when I'm done," he says as he rises before them.
Jester gulps as he listens and watches the drama unfold before him. Jester states coldly to the Rat, "I hope to repay your kindness for this soon, dear cousin."
Rat looks back and smiles. as he says sarcastically, "If you can. I look forward to it. I already know no matter what befalls you, you will keep smiling through it all." He mockingly bows to Jester then scurries quickly away to his queen while giving Dungeon Master a wide berth.
After the royals leave Dungeon Master looks over at Jester shakes his head, and walks away from the cell saying. "I have to get things set up... it'll take a bit. I suggest you get undressed so I won't ruin what's left of your costume."
Jester is standing in shock, not to mention fear; he lets out a small laugh. “What did Queen Jade mean when she said you and she have a special understanding?”
Dungeon Master doesn’t look at his friend as he disappears around a corner. “It means this time you went too far. This is one jest too far.”
Jester finds himself thinking that his Queen Garnet did all she could to save him from death. Yet he wonders if this could be worse. He undresses quickly so he's barefoot, and naked. Not the first time in his life. Jester has plenty to fear of the torture to come even though none shows on his face.
Bravely. he says to himself, "It’s a small price to pay for my Queen’s honor to be upheld," as he folds his clothes and puts them on the bunk with his hat on top. His one friend in the castle is about to take pieces of his hide from his body, and all he can think is that he'd better buy him a number of rounds the next time they hit the tavern.
When Dungeon Master returns he has no expression on his face. He opens the cell door to let out the prisoner. "I’ve got to keep this on the level of just another job, or we are all in trouble," he mutters.
Grabbing Jester's wrist, Dungeon Master puts the arm and leg manacles on him just as he would any other prisoner. Now that the prisoner was not going anywhere Dungeon Master looks over his prisoner; not a bad frame, good muscles. What most would call a cub, a bit of fur showing. Dungeon Master is not surprised that the prisoner has a decent-sized piece of manhood.
Even though Jester had seen the punishment chamber occasionally on his trips through the dungeon, he is still not ready for it. His previous punishments generally consisted of a ten lashes with the small whip for minor transgressions, but that changed once King Korven married Garnet. Since then his sister Jade has become more and more of a vicious bitch, and now she demands greater punishments. Now Jester enters the Punishment Chamber used for the worst offenses. He looks at the various whips chains, and other devices meant to make even the bravest man weep like a small child; knowing about half of them will be used on him over the course of hours.
Dungeon Master unlocks the restraints on Jester just long enough to re-position them so his hands are in front of him; he then lifts Jester up by his arms so the links in the manacles are suspending him by his wrists. He then quickly hooks the foot manacles to a hook in the floor causing Jester to stretch his small body as far as it can. Jester lets out an involuntary gasp, and yelps, “Ohhhh!”
Dungeon Master briefly bites his lip confident that his prisoner is secure and not going anywhere. He looks his friend over with a mix of concern, and resignation, and looks Jester in the eyes and says. "This going to hurt a hell of a lot, Jes. So get ready.”
Jester gasps, “Give me a numbing draught! Please!” he pleads.
“I can't give you anything for the pain, those are the orders; but I can promise after it’s done your wounds won’t fester… One last thing, you are to be gagged, not to keep the screams in, but make sure you don't bite your tongue clean off; you have an apology to deliver."
Jester nods and he shakes from the cold, and from fear; more from the latter, he thinks grimly. Once the bit gag is in place, and before Jester has a time to react, Jester hears a swish of leather. He screams, and bites down onto the gag as his shoulders and back are pierced by little shards of bone embedded in the leather which is slowly dragged across his back. He gasps, and tries to twist away from the pain. Another lash of the cat o’nine tails rakes across his body, and this time blood spatters from the open wounds faster and farther then Dungeon Master anticipated. He's seen it before, and he adjusts accordingly. As he releases another lash more spatter hits his face. Without thinking he reflexively licks the blood from his lips; the metallic taste, mixed with adrenaline fuels Dungeon Master on to strike harder. A part of him screams to hold back, this is a friend who did nothing to warrant this type of punishment; still, it's Dungeon Masters’ job, and he is oath-bound to do it to the fullest of his ability.
By the time all is said and done, Dungeon Master has worked up a good sweat, and Jester has received twelve lashes across his entire body. Gasping, and semi-conscious, Jesters body gets doused in cold salt water to rinse off the blood, and to help prevent infection. Jester is panting, and sobbing, and hoping his torment is over. Yet he knows it's just begun.
Dungeon Master lowers Jester down from the ceiling. Jester slumps in Dungeon Master’s arms as he feels himself moved to a simple, roughhewn rack. Dungeon Master stretches out Jesters body to give him some semblance of rest. Jester’s hopes are dashed as Dungeon Master fastens him to the rack, and performs several turns of the wheel. He hears the unmistakable sounds of Jester’s joints popping over his muffled screams.
Looking at the stretched body barely moving on the rack Dungeon Master walks over to a water bucket, and grabs the metal cup stored above it. Taking the full cup over to the prisoner, Dungeon Master unties his arms, removes the bit gag, and forces Jester into a sitting position. He then forces him to drink the water whether he wants to or not. Dungeon master notices that his prisoner’s manhood has sprung to life on its own. He's seen this happen to others under his treatment; the body turns the pain into pleasure, and it’s another tool he can use to torment his prisoner. Dungeon Master has to keep his friendship separate, or he won't be able to accomplish all that he is required to.
As he forces himself to take in the liquid that is being offered, Jester feels his senses on overdrive; the water, while not cold, feels like ice going down his throat. Mixed in the water is the coppery taste of his own blood. He feels the soft leather of Dungeon masters glove on his back sliding over the tracks of blood still coming from his body. His nostrils flare, and he is assailed by the metallic scent of blood, and the musky scent of both himself, and The Dungeon Master. Inside Jester’s partially fogging mind is the thought, "This is my best friend. He’s trying to destroy my body and mind. That he's succeeding is proof to how well he does his job."
The worst part is that he knows it’s not over yet. What has Jester more terrified than what is coming next is what becomes of the friendship they both have had? It is at this moment that Jester realizes that Dungeon Master is the only subject that he considers a friend. Someone he’s gone to town with, the one person he feels some closeness to in the whole kingdom. He recalls a closeness that he had with Rat, his cousin, but that ended too with the marriage of the Korven to Garnet. She is a kind and loving Queen, but it has brought out a jealous, and evil streak in Jade. These past two years have been dark ones for the court Jester.
A guard quietly walks down the steps not happy at all with the orders he's about to give. His leather armor barley makes a sound as he rounds the corner. He knows the Dungeon Master could not have seen or heard him entering the chamber. Yet without looking the Dungeon Master says, “What new orders have come down from the Queen in regards to the prisoner?"
The guard gulps and firmly reads from the scroll in his hand, "It has been decided you shall be given more time to apply your skills to the prisoner. He is now expected to be the main display at the evening meal."
The Guard shifts his weight waiting for the Dungeon Master to turn, and face him. He sees the already pale face of the Jester become even whiter. Dungeon Master doesn't turn around at all, just stands up and listens as the guard continues.
"It seems your relationship with the prisoner has been told to the King’s sister, and she relishes the idea of the emotional pain this is causing the prisoner. Of course it goes without saying, if you fail to keep him alive you will be punished with a slow death as well." He rolls up the scroll and as turns to leave he says over his shoulder, "Sorry."
Dungeon Master lets out a deep sigh as he turns away from Jester, letting him collapse back on the rack. He walks over to the wall balls up his hand, and hits the wall causing chips of stone to fly. He thinks to himself, "That pompous bitch! She now plays with a man’s life like he's nothing. If he did something to deserve this, it would be no problem; but this could be a waste of a life." Dungeon Master regains his composure and gets back to work.
Releasing Jester off the rack takes a couple of seconds, getting him to stand takes a bit longer. Dungeon Master leads Jester to a gibbet; a metal cage shaped to encase a person, stands him in it, and locks the cage. Then goes to a wall covered in tools of the trade. He takes out two pear shaped objects. Dungeon Master puts a bit of lard on the larger of the two, looks over at his prisoner with a blank face. By grabbing onto Jester’s throat he proceeds to force open Jesters mouth and puts the smaller pear in. He turns the leaf-like handle and sees Jesters jaw reach its limits. His eyes bulging out, the mouth gaping, he knows this is as far as it will stretch without the jaw breaking.
He next uses the winch beside the cage to raise it until Jester’s hips are at shoulder height. Turning the cage Dungeon master inserts the greased pear into Jesters ass which causes a high pitched noise to come from Jesters full mouth. He then turns the handle on this pear four turns which Dungeon master knows will not tear anything but will hurt like hell. He fantasizes on the day he can go all the way with this evil device on a man but today is not that day.
After Jester spends a half hour in the cage; where he is forced to stand while Dungeon Master breaks several of his fingers and toes with a small ballpein hammer, Dungeon Master releases him. He does not remove the pears however.
Taking the prisoner to his latest creation, Dungeon Master leads Jester to a metal box that is a tight squeeze for an average man but for Jester there should be a bit of room. Once the prisoner is locked inside, Dungeon Master places an hour glass on top of the box. He then goes to one of the braziers that light the dungeon, and with tongs removes several red hot coals from it; he does this with all of them in the room, then places the coals on and under the metal box until it glows slightly. He opens a slit on the top of the box and places a candle in a small opening surrounded by mirrors. The bright light nearly blinds the small Jester. Then Dungeon Master starts the hand crank that turns the hammers which bang all over the box.
Inside the box just as Jester closes his eyes to try to adjust to the blinding light, he begins to feel the heat rising around him. As if this isn’t bad enough, he realizes that the box itself is covered in small piercing spikes. While the heat gets more intense, and no matter how he moves he is being cut, and poked, not to mention deafened by the constant banging that seems to echo in the small box.
A sharp poke opens up his eyes and he is blinded by the flashing light. A twist of his head, and the mouth pear brings pain, a movement of his ass, and the rectal pear does the same.
Jester can't tell if its blood or tears streaming down his face when or if the laughter and screams have merged by the time he's released from the metal box. His voice is gone, his face a glazed over, maddened mask. He can’t stand on his two feet now; he slumps onto the cold stone floor, a shaking mass of bruised and cut flesh. Dungeon master looks at what's left of his prisoner, knowing he's not done yet. He once again douses Jester with salt water, the shock of the cold water against his hot, torn flesh another agony.
There’s one last bit to break what's left of the poor man’s mind. Can he bring himself to do it is the only question? Dungeon Master has no choice, it was ordered. He forces his prisoner to drink more water. This time with vinegar and salt in it to bring his temperature down, and give him strength; if his prisoner expired from heat and lack of water, his own life would be forfeit. He then locks Jester in a simple pine casket lying in a corner of the room.
In his dazed state Jester is able to keep calm even though he is locked in a casket. The dark and quiet are even more disturbing after the light and noise. As his body shakes from the cold water he loses track of time in the dark casket. It could be minutes or it could be hours. All he knows is its dark, quiet, and not a lot of room or air. He's trying to stay calm so as to not die. To Jester this is worse than any physical abuse. He's alone with no way to move.
Jester thinks to himself with the little focus he has left after everything that's been done to him. He's not sure he can take it anymore. Not the punishment. That's just pain; and wounds that will heal, hopefully. No, what he's not sure he can handle is the knowing that this person who is doing this to him is one of his only friends and if he can do this without showing regret or remorse. What exactly did their friendship mean in the first place? What of the oath I took to serve his Queen at the request of his King? Had he not amused her? How could his friend and his Queen allow this to happen to him? Would he now die without ever having a love of his own? His mouth gaping open, and tears streaming from his eyes All Jester seems able to do is repeat "I'm sorry," over and over again.
In the darkness he feels himself being lifted up. He thinks to himself, “I am dying…my soul is leaving the earthly body, the pain is subsiding.”
Dungeon master hears a voice calling “Make way for the Queen. Make way for the Queen.”
A bright light flashes into Jesters eyes. The casket is opened by Dungeon Master. Queen Jade looks in, and sees the broken Jester inside.
Beside her a pained Rat, and Dungeon Master look in on pitiful Jester.
Jade sneers, “Has It learned Its lesson?”
Dungeon Master slowly removes the mouth pear. He knows Jester probably can’t answer but at least he should be able to nod his head.
Jester looks at Jade, and begins to cackle a high-pitched broken laugh, his eyes wild, staring through her, not at her.
Her face gets a very evil grin. “It laughs," she almost purrs. “Good work Dungeon Master, you have broken it. It is completely insane, but still alive and can grovel at the feast." She gathers her skirts. "Come, fool!” The queen then exits the torture chamber, the Rat skulking after his owner.
The guard turns to the Dungeon Master after the queen leaves and says, “I’m sorry about your friend,” as the maniacal laughter continues from Jester.
The Dungeon Master raises his head. "Not as sorry as She'll be." He looks at the guard with a glint in his eyes. "After Jester's performance, take him to my quarters. Tell no one."
The Guard nods and walks away. Dungeon Master looks at his friend.
"I broke you." He pauses and gently touches his friend's bloody body. "I can rebuild you."
(This is a piece of fantasy/bdsm I wrote a while ago with the intention of doing more with it, but it just kind of went other places. Hope you enjoy. Any comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd also like to thank UrsusMjr and Papa Werebear for editing and the chance to share this.)