The Cursed Six
Chapter 1

Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, mt/ft, mt/Fa, ft/ft, Fa/ft, Ma/Ma, Ma/mt, Teenagers, Coercion, Consensual, Magic, NonConsensual, Pedophilia, Rape, Reluctant, Romantic, Lesbian, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Historical, War, Incest, Mother, Son, Brother, Sister, Father, Daughter, Cousins, Uncle, Niece, MaleDom, Humiliation, Light Bond, Rough, Sadistic, Spanking, Torture, Orgy, First, Lactation, Masturbation, Oral Sex, Petting, Pregnancy, Politics, Royalty, Slow, Violent,

Desc: Historical Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A historical fiction surrounding a cursed royal household. A dark tale of siblings and the lives they live.

It is said, that long before there was a king, there was a man. A man of a face of no consequence. A man who coveted beyond his pocket and thus journeyed the path of darkness. A darkness that forevermore did preside over his children, and his children’s children. While it was, indeed, his pockets came to know no depth, so too did his years become numbered. Thirty-five.

Thirty-five; may no Misseldon-born breathe life beyond the span.


Misseldon Household 1520

PRINCE ETHAN

In the midst of the dining hall, where sound had the tendency to draw on for eons, sunlight palpitating through the rose stained windows above and falling in iridescent patterns over the shared midday meal, Prince Ethan’s fork clashed with his sister’s, staying it over the steamed fresh potato slices. His eyes were the color of stormy teal seas as they narrowed.

“Have you never heard before, princesses should eat in moderation?”

Eleanor’s eyes had previously remained as lively as one could imagine as she dug into potato after potato. How many she had devoured, it was impossible to say, though the clash of fine silver caused her grey gaze to harden. Her brother was offered a glare that suggested he may as well have moved to strike her with a blade, a clash of swords rather than forks.

“Have you heard...” She gulped down the chunk of potato that seemed likely to fly across the table in the direction of their older sister if no attempt to devour was made. “Have you heard ... that I don’t care?” The fork was abandoned, clattering against the porcelain with no regard for its fineness.

The Prince sat back, a perfectly written scowl across his lips. No sooner, it shifted into a characteristic deign, a fleck of bigoted arrogance slithering in.

He was dressed as fine as he always was, clothed from head to toe in wool darker than obsidian rock, fleurs de lis woven down the breast vesture, over the clasp joining the tunic to the tight fit of the slender frame. His fork deviated away from Eleanor’s, mindful of the hazardous proximity she brought on. Instead, the three-toothed utensil was directed towards Astrid.

“Perhaps you should strive to be more like our eldest bore of a sister. Sit straight and look impeccably ignorant along the way. What say you, Astrid?”

Unlike her sister, Astrid tended to each piece of potato carefully. A thin sliver, never too big a chunk, a delicate slip off the fork and into her soft, pink lips. Everything carefully chewed, a dab of the napkin here and there. The sisters had something in common, and that was the glance of annoyance towards the brother who dared interrupt them. The icy look met Ethan’s briefly before it slid to the fork, bringing forth the glare of disapproval.

“You are old enough to know that it is quite rude to point.” The voice was prissy and sharp, for she was the perfect example of perfect manners, or at least that was how she perceived herself. “Though I do think that Eleanor ought to take better care in her dining habits.”

“What’s the point of taking your time if it’s going to get cold?”

“Perhaps consider smaller portions.”

The girl scoffed and offered a laugh which then suggested she knew the contents of a sore subject for the eldest princess.

But Ethan cared not one way or the other about what Astrid did. She could starve herself to the point of a sickly, sinuous bride which foreign princes pined after—so long as she did not influence Eleanor the same. He wanted his younger sister to dine properly, yes, but never to underfeed herself to the extent of bad health.

After all, someday he and Eleanor would wed and appearances would be everything. He opened his mouth to say as much, but words never succeeded beyond a puff of breath before A’zur interrupted.

Their eldest brother was not one easily forgotten. His presence did not fade into the background as might Edgar or young Alan’s. It was a grueling, irksome force that pervaded and ruined meals.

“Maybe silence is the tone we ought all take, for we are but days before a sacrifice that will lie down in history itself.” Bronze curls infiltrated nothing, for it was styled back and tucked vigilantly behind his ears. It allowed the cool grey stones to bore into each of them, except Astrid.

Ethan huffed—then dropped his fork all together. “Great, you ruined my meal.”

“Good,” was all the male said before he continued his own.

Prince Ethan looked between his two eldest siblings. A’zur and Astrid, they did not share features quite as distinctly as the younger four children. But by their stoic nature and ever-living decency, they may as well have been the same person. In an unsettling way, it reminded him of his father and mother, the King and Queen of Thellemere.

And no, it was not talk of the sacrifice that ruined Ethan’s meal. It did not bother him the slightest, this curse living century to century in their bloodline. Yes, the Misseldon Household was fated to die at the ripe turning of forty years, and yes their father the King may have proposed the blood sacrifice of their youngest brother, Alan, in an attempt to appease the Gods and stave off the curse—but by the Gods, it’d been the talk of days and days and days. And frankly, it was about as much a bore as Astrid herself.

But A’zur’s all-knowing persona, spieled over the dining hall table? That was about as foul—if not more so—as knowing your youngest brother was destined to die in eight moons.

Ethan frowned. “Besides, I see no reason to spoil the day over one life. Surely my future queen can agree.” He looked to Eleanor.

The young Princess indulged her betrothed with the briefest of glares, though deep in the warm slate of her eyes resided a flash of distress, emerging, as always, when discussion of Alan’s sacrifice was occurring. “Hmph.” The target of interest was the platter of steaming potatoes, delightfully fluffy within yet golden and crispy on the exterior. She appeared determined not to break into tears as she had when the news was broken, which was a relief, for Ethan despised the witness of a woman crying. With that, he was content to see the potatoes soothing her upset.

“Manners!” Astrid erupted as her eyes harboured some rare vibrancy when she was pretending to be grown-up. Issue was noted when Eleanor reached, rather than requested the passing of the platter. “Honestly, you are being deliberately rude.”

“Can I just get my potatoes in peace?”

“Say please.”

“No.” With a pale claw, Eleanor scooped up three handsomely sized roasts which would provide welcome distraction from the company she kept along with soothing her unconquerable appetite. “I just want my potatoes.”

“Yes, Astrid, just give my future queen her potatoes.” It was moments like these when Ethan and Eleanor were not quarreling siblings, but one in the same—united by potatoes.

Eleanor gave one of those peculiar smiles, a straight line of her lips that only curved in the dimpled corners, reminding him she truly did have the potential to be beautiful. What more, the smile only appeared to irk Astrid further.

The blonde’s eyes narrowed. “Say. Please.”

“Make. Me.” Eleanor mimicked the tone as she popped a smaller, crispier potato between her lips. “You’re just jealous.” She chewed for a number of seconds before continuing. “Mother did not give me a telling off about what I eat. I’m still allowed cake.”

“I told you not to speak of it!” A pink tide creeped from the neckline of Astrid’s dress, peaking as far as her hairline.

Ethan shrank back as Eleanor peeled the gauze from what must have been a most sensitive wound for Astrid. Before mean spirited words escalated to something that may well lead to the lot of them getting in trouble, he motioned for them to be still. “Please, please. Not here, right?”

He looked to A’zur, but the male was never one to step between the sisterly dispute.

It was no secret, the standards forced to be maintained of the eldest children. Ethan and Eleanor, while they were destined to be married to one another when they came of age, A’zur and Astrid were set to be pawns. Married off somewhere far away from the Thellemere castle, wed for matters of lucrative provisions.

While there was a vague expectation for any male, for Astrid it was worse. What man would seek a cow for a wife?

She glanced briefly at the remaining foot upon her plate and her brows creased at the sight of the neat little pieces of pork. The rind had been removed, discarded on one side of her plate as if laced with poison. Diseased, cancerous, heretical. It may well have been by the manner in which Astrid beheld the strip of fat.

“Mother told her off about her little bit of a second chin that comes if she smiles too much. She did not say this, but I think she was thinking that if Astrid continued to grow around her rump, she would be hiding a curly tail in her frilly little underclothes.”

As Eleanor threw her head back in mirth, the much fought for potatoes briefly forgotten, Astrid scraped her chair across the floorboards and came to her feet. Even more flushed than before, she examined Ethan and Eleanor with a glare of furied venom. “You both are well suited to each other.”

With that she turned on her heel and strode from the room. The trail of curls bounced as she hurried off in a strop. The clicking of her dainty shoes against the wood was drowned out by Eleanor’s even more furious waves of laughter. She clutched her stomach as it visibly jolted in merriment. “She is so angry.”

But Ethan’s mind was elsewhere. “Did ... did we just receive her blessing for our union?”

Eleanor merely continued to scoff down her potatoes, her laughter dying down.

A’zur made no show of acknowledging any of the transpired events. No, his brother kept his head about his plate, now eating hurriedly though somehow maintaining a flawless elegance about him as he cleaned the last of the potatoes and pork rinds. When finished, only then did he look up to Ethan and Eleanor, though no words were spared.

Handkerchief to either corners of his mouth, folded neatly, set aside, he rose and followed after Astrid.

A’zur always followed after her.

The bright side? Ethan had just regained his appetite.

PRINCESS ASTRID

The meal was yet another instance when Astrid was left unsatisfied, with the gnawing itch in her stomach, akin to the rattling of the mice which surely inhabited the ancient castle walls. Regardless of the irritation, she was quite aware that it was worth each moment of discomfort if she could fulfill her role to please.

Eleanor clearly misunderstood the weight of expectation upon her shoulders, for Eleanor did not have to work to acquire a husband, though Ethan was hardly much of a prize. She did not have to have a carousel of outfits to surprise the male she was destined for. Neither did she come under the relentless examination their mother often conducted. Weight, measurements, hair, skin, and gods did Queen Marianne reprimand her daughter harshly if there was the formation of even the tiniest of pimples. Astrid often wished to retort with a howl of laughter in her mother’s face, for imagine if a blemish upon her cheek really did cost the formation of a bond between two royal dynasties! Naturally she would never dare answer back. A lady must always know when to hold her tongue.

She imagined that the desserts would be being brought to her siblings as she made her way to her bedchambers. Cake, most likely, either one large one or a number of smaller ones, each one of a different flavour. It had become a poison to her now. It would ruin her and destroy her prospects. Many times Astrid had witnessed Eleanor grin in satisfaction and give a slow roll of her eyes in appreciation of thick layers of jam and cream. Before it became a problem for her Astrid may have reacted in the same manner, and truly she adored the taste of sponge, but she had to resist such gluttonous temptations.

The approaching footsteps were completely expected for there was only one person in the entire world who would follow and support her through anything. Silence had been his action at the dinner table and Astrid did not blame him. It was a squabble of the immature variety and Eleanor would learn in time that future Queens had best amend their behaviour at the dinner table lest they struggle in all situations outside of domestic routine.

Astrid paused and turned slowly on her heel. The grin that spread across her face had no concern for the dimples that emerged nor the rounding of her cheeks and chin. He encouraged her yet never pressured her as Mother did.

“Sometimes I think you and I would be best dining together. Just the two of us.” She crossed her hands behind her back and swayed slightly, like a bashful schoolgirl, though the reaction could not be helped when he was so lovely to her. “You’re a man after all, not a child. And I must be a woman now, or nearly so.” Astrid slid her arm forward to permit her hand to brush lightly against his sleeve before she slid her palm into his. Their fingers latched together and Astrid did little to hide her eagerness as he was her favourite person, and this was one of her favourite places. “Can I steal you away before bedtime?”

There was a space of time before long fingers obliged, closing around hers slowly. Before tugging her towards him. He didn’t answer her question. He seldom answered her questions. “They are children, wherefore their words reflect as much. Tell me you are fine.”

Her dearest brother’s welcome grasp offered as much warmth as she saw in the rich bronze of his hair. The curls around his ears, so gentle despite the formal neatness. A’zur’s gaze radiated a similar heat, grey but never cold, at least not in Astrid’s opinion. The prince was almost impossibly tall but there was something rather sweet about appearing so little in her brother’s company. For all her life he had been her protector, guiding her and being the cause of her most natural of smiles. Through the most trying times he was the brightest star in the endless night, the one they would watch together as children. People did not understand him and viewed him with the same superstition as they did that bright entity. In truth, it wounded Astrid, for it was upsetting that he was so misunderstood, yet a part of her relished the fact that she was the closest to his heart, and understood him more so than anyone else.

“Sometimes it is a little too much.” A squeeze of his hand, coupled with a softening of her expression was a clear indication that she was completely comfortable in his company. “There is a great deal of expectation that I am keen to live up to but it is very tiring.” Astrid sighed and offered him a somewhat wistful smile. “I am fine now that I am with you.”

Neither satisfaction nor refute primed through his gaze towards her response. The matte grey skies were calculative for a long stretch, his thumb making leisure circles between the valley of her fingers. “I think your mind is crowding. There is too much going on around you.”

A wisp of her golden tresses was then invited between the sieve of his fingers as he stroked the frame of her face. “You must relax. Find joy in your day, while keeping to your purpose.”

He was correct, as always. There was a great deal happening around them and she was losing the momentum to tread water and was at great risk of drowning in her troubles. A’zur did help her remain afloat, a familiar buoyancy against the rising tides.

She tightened her grasp. “I find the greatest joy with you, big brother.”

Had his eyes lowered to her lips? Perhaps it was because she was so very short in comparison to his fine physique, but there was still a chance he wished to do something so pure, yet dishonest when it came to her. There was no time to tell, his features assuming their serious edges in rapid motion.

“Am I the only one who will mourn when our youngest brother is no more?” The shift was hard and brutal, the topic placing erasure over any hint of unfolding affections. While mourn was hardly a relative term in matters of her brother, there lay more agitation than grief in his words.

Astrid was taken aback. She paused, then her eyes widened and all serenity poured away, revealing a blank slate with the chill of a high Winter’s frost. Truly, she was a terrible person. She revelled in her brother’s attention while their littlest sibling sat oblivious in a tower chamber, awaiting his imminent death. They were going to sacrifice him for the sake of their own longevity, with the slim chance that something would change—anything. The frost was not directed at A’zur, but rather the thought of Alan and her lack of consideration for what was to come.

“Of course I will mourn. He is our brother. He is dying for our sake.” Never would she vocalise such a thought, but any death would be worth it to see A’zur thrive and prosper. “You and I will mourn together, big brother. I see you, how tall you are, how strong you are, how clever, and my heart breaks when I think that little Alan will never reach such heights. Knowing that Alan is soon to die also reminds me that one day, I may lose you.”

“I am not priority,” he told her then, and Astrid resisted the urge to argue, for she believed quite the opposite. “Repeal me from whatever high throne you’ve sat me upon and for once, Astrid, think solely for yourself. I will not always be here, you know this. Soon we will both land who knows where on the map and your insistent notion of “together” will consist of you—and you alone.”

In one regard, Astrid determined that A’zur was being rather cruel. For years they had been close, inseparable, as he raised her with a greater degree of care and affection than either of their parents did. The children were left to their own devices and he had saved her from becoming an uncivilised creature like their sister.

She remained silent, believing that if she was to start a string of protest she would be unable to desist. The passion scorched her innards, penetrating her chest with a relentless surge.

He does not know everything. He does not know what he does to me.

He retracted his hand from her hold, sending it through his hair and ruining the foundation. There was apology in his voice. “Just ... do not compare me to what will never be. Please.”

“I can daydream.” She sighed, defeated, but he could not keep her from her girlish trails of thought. The distractions she made for herself, for them both. A marriage, little ones he would guide and she would nurture. It would be a privilege to bear his children, but that joy was afforded to some other woman already, whoever and wherever she may be. Just the same, some unknown claimant would possess her and would attempt to mold her into his perfect little wife. She would strive to be as perfect as one could be but perfection could not be wholly achieved when she did not belong entirely to her brother.

“You would discourage that, big brother. You were always the sensible one. Even when you are away in some land and I in another, you will always be my big brother. You were from the moment I was born and you will remain so forever.” They did not have the liberty to imagine themselves elderly, two grey figures whose bones creaked as much as worn furniture. Lines would not erase their beauty, neither would they experience the steady decline of their bodies. As far as Astrid was aware, that would come quickly.

A breath redolent of exasperation fell past his lips. For a moment, in the way his brows came together, his eyes glistening the slightest, his youth shone through his carefully forged mask. It was a face of bewilderment, one he would adorn himself in time and again when they were younger, when she would say things he later explained to be bizarre in some respects.

And like old times, he shushed her with a simple shh, three fingers pressed against her lips.

She made no attempt to speak, but rather parted her lips slightly to press the lightest of kisses against his silencing fingers. In her doing so, she felt the smallest caress, his prints learning the curve of her lips before his hand fell away.

“Sit.” He notched his head the direction of her bed, a mahogany piece, its four posts cornering an expanse too generous for a single occupant, though made no move to join.

She perched at the edge of the mattress, the plush cream furs and teal silks sinking against her weight. It was regretful that he did not sit beside her though she imagined he wished to advise her and she would listen. Afterall, he was a wise oracle of a young man.

His attention migrated towards the bay window, its seating a heap of furs the colour of oxblood. The dying sun filtered in thinly through the veil and as he took residence upon the ledge, it turned bronze locks copper and grey eyes a shimmering hazel.

It was a sight to behold, the light in which A’zur appeared the loveliest. She would be defying him if she was to stand and embrace him, her big brother, a title no one could take away from him, but she did not wish to displease him by being disrespectful.

Instead an airy sigh left her lips and she offered him a petite smile. “You look so thoughtful, big brother. You must be sad.”

He didn’t look away, his gaze locked to the divisive day and night of the setting sun. Snow had just begun to fall. Below there were no thriving vineyards or immaculate verdure sculpted to emphasise wealth and preference of decorum. Thellemere was not a kingdom fond of greenery. There existed but three seasons, none of which ever entirely discarded the white sheets of snow seen off in the distance. A’zur sighed now, slumping back against the seal’s frame. “Contemplative, dear sister. Contemplative and sad, for I cannot, nor could I ever, preserve the innocence of any of my siblings.”

It was only natural that A’zur was contemplative, for he was always thinking of something, planning and plotting. He was fiercely clever, much more so than she. But sad? No, she did not like him sad. Her shoulders crushed under the weight of the upset that her brother was unhappy. Never did A’zur deserve to be sad.

Now he faced her, and all the sunlight his eyes had captured, collapsed into a haunting darkness. “But I believe it’s best to stay practical. To live in the present and accept the truth: We are allowing our youngest blood to burn for our own gain. An uncertain gain.” His smile was small. “Though I must say, I admire your ability to ruminate over the future—your future, rather than be as I. Sitting and contemplating just what it feels like to have your skin flayed to a crisp with no means for escape.”

He described what was to happen to Alan and it was then that Astrid felt something snap within her. A string of her heart. Their brother was only a little boy and he would not understand. Not until the heat licked at his skin, at first an uncomfortable tingle which would eventually grow into an unbearable state, though soon past his comprehension. These thoughts were plaguing her dear brother’s mind and conscience, and that perhaps hurt more than anything.

“No!” Astrid cried through a voice that broke as she came to her feet. She threw herself at her brother, arms in a grip around his upper body that seemed to dare him to try to push her off. The flesh of her cheek smoothed against his chest and she breathed in his scent, which to Astrid was how all men ought to smell. He was the absolute ideal, her dearest heart, and he was occupying his thoughts with such dark imaginations. “Please do not think of such details, big brother!” Her eyes met his from her position beneath him. “Please!”

He startled in surprise, a shift of his gaze bringing out an awkward way in him. “I...” He stared down at her, the look not quite flustered, more lost. Though at last, his arms embraced her warmly, his words everything but. “You cannot live in a bubble of oblivion forever, Astrid. That is an excellent way to get yourself killed. And I don’t know what I would do if I were to lose another of my siblings.”

The warmth and security provided by his arms closing around her was like the raising of the castle bridge prior to the onslaught of an opposing force. He would protect her and naturally he was being realistic with the advice he provided. “I will try my very best not to get killed. I would hate to break your heart.” Astrid shuffled into a more comfortable seating position, a place where her lips convened to her brother’s cheek. The peck was delicate, nothing more than a feathery touch. She permitted the kiss to linger and broke it with a light nudge of her nose against his own.

“Big brother, you have my heart. Now you must promise never to break it.”

His eyes were as serious as his words, despite the childish brushing of their noses. “Astrid, I would never.”

KING ROBERT

Through the looking glass, a great window peering over the southern region of Thellemere’s castle sat with a flurry of white hushing beyond its pane. Cold winds swept into the king’s corridor, the fireplace dead without a trace of ever having been lit.

It was as though the king wished not to lay eyes on excessive fire until the day his youngest child stood within it. Soon, Thellemere would smell of smoke and warm the flesh of all who had lay witness to the event.

The room was donned to an immaculate flare of luxury. A bed the size for five, doubled in plush duvets the colour of black nightmares, feather-soft pillows mounted towards the headboards. Settled on both sides of the bed’s post were the ferocious mounted heads of snow leopards, the Lymerean symbol, the dark spots on white fur redolent of the skins spread throughout the room. Along the wall, where murals of horsemen dying amidst aimless battle spiraled in somber shades, were the scones of black and white candles, burning calmly.

Heavy hands splayed out on the vanity’s surface, where between the leather-clad arms, Queen Marianne sat upon the ivory chair, entrapped. The King standing tall behind her, lowered his face slowly to the crown of her hair, where he took but one leisure inhale.

“Tell your king he is making the right decision.”

Light cast from the candles. The fire from which the queen’s teal eyes bore into through the mirror turned bronze tendrils neatly arranged in a braid over her shoulder into an appealing antique gold here and there. Rich and still of a beautiful shade. No flinch nor shifting of her gaze suggested she had heard her husband’s request, though the small hum of recognition was enough.

“You are doing what you must. Our ancestors never had the courage to see such a display complete. I will pray it reaps success.”

His chest enlarged with pleasure at having heard the words. He took her at once by her chin, tilting her head back so that the grey slate of his eyes might bear down into hers. “My queen knows me too well.”

It may well have been an understatement, for the sure way they complimented one another like a knight to his sword or shadow to a flame, King Robert and Queen Marianne were one in the same.

And this had little, if anything, to do with the blood they shared, but more the chilling texture of their exterior. Similar glances that made a man’s blood run cold, or perhaps even the way one spoke the other’s mind.

“My mother told me when I was preparing to marry Cousin Robert that I ought to know what my husband wishes to hear before he wishes to hear it. He will always ask my counsel for that is what husbands do. I have provided you with what you want to hear, but I am unsure. Chances of success are small and the price to pay is large, but if it keeps my constant with me for but a little while longer and we can save our house, then is it not worth the sacrifice of a child?”

The firm grasp of her chin gentled, fingers spreading and wrapping gently around the hollow of her throat. The room, blue and grey with spring frost, left his hands icy, but her neck was warm to the touch, the blood hasting readily through her veins. “Our remaining children will not think the same.”

Immediately, he thought of his eldest son, A’zur. The boy had inherited his gaze of steel, and not only in the sense of colour. But hardness. Since the declaration of his youngest brother’s sacrifice, he hadn’t looked at his father or mother the same.

Well, it was not to say the child ever retained any warmth in his eyes in regards to his parents, but lately, the life was blown out of them when in their company.

The boy would get over it.

It was his eldest daughter that gave him the most concern.

Robert leaned down further and kissed the corner of Marianne’s mouth, the rasp of his beard coaxing roughly over the supple skin. “I do not want Astrid present when the deed is done.”

The girl was more fragile than glass, though a thousand times denser. He would not have her witnessing her brother in flames, her ears subjected to the piercing screech of his screams; he would not have her mind scarred and broken, thus frightening away any prospects of a sustainable, wealthy husband.

“She should occupy her thoughts with her upcoming marriage, whoever the man may be. She thrives with a sense of focus. A productive distraction.” Marianne settled into his touch and through her reflection slid her gaze to her husband. “Have you any thoughts on who he may be?”

His eyes did not leave hers as his fingers traveled the lush curve of her breast through the rich chiffon, finding its black lace and beginning the slow task of unlacing. “I cannot say ... It cannot be a man who possesses little riches but an avaricious heart. Even less, I cannot have her wed a man whose tool can barely spurt his piss correctly, let alone a child.”

Only when the lace had unraveled in its entirety, stopping just below her rib line, did he rise. “Stand.”

With the understanding to comply immediately, for she was a wife who had been well trained in the art of obedience for nigh on two decades, Marianne came to her feet. The height difference was stark and Robert towered a head over her. When she turned towards him, the gown slid from the smoothness of her shoulders until it pooled at her hips, the curvaceous area providing a barrier to her naked form.

Behind his breeches, the King’s member stiffened.

“Have him be older than her then. Not a boy, but a man.” Slender digits pressed against Robert’s chest as the Queen advised, one of her most crucial duties. “Foreign born males do not spout the same vigour as our men. What virility a man displays at fifteen here may not yet be matched by a man at twenty elsewhere. The sooner she can have the seed of a prince within her, the sooner we can allow our roots to spread to lands beyond our borders.”

Yes, Robert Misseldon knew well how fertile the Misseldon bloodline to be.

Just then, he took the length of her braid and coiled it around his hand as one might a whip. He tugged her head back, her lips exposed and there for him to do as he pleased. His kiss was brutal, but such was the way of him. Fiery and chasten. Cold and demanding.

His tongue was intrusive, yet gentle. Stroking hers into submission. Soft. Tender. He needed her like this, for when he returned her to the sheets and her body appeared as delicate and sensitive as the duvets themselves, it would make his invasion that much sweeter.

Though the King was patient. He took hold of her wrist and carefully guided her fingers down the solid ridge of his chest, straight for the strain of his breeches.

A soft grunt passed her lips as she pawed at the swelled destination. She paused, as if to tease, before she began unlacing as she had done countless times before.

The ties were easily undone and she hastened to cup him in her hands, her grip firm at first, whispering to that dark desire of his, before gentling. Marianne trailed her fingers over his length routinely as if to provide quick examination before she began to stroke him with greater passion. She tugged, kneaded, forever eager to please her kingly husband.

As she handled him and his breaths grew shortened, so too did his words, their structure falling apart beneath the extent of his arousal. “This foreigner ... he must be as potent as your king.” A low sound eased from him as the tip of her finger glided over his sensitive head. “And Astrid,” The hand which did not endeavor in the woven braid took hold of her waistside before roaming to the gentle protrusion of her belly. “I’ve complete faith in her ability to bear many children, as she takes greatly after her mother.”

Perhaps not where brains were concerned, but she would make for an excellent breeding mare, if nothing else.

As for him, a king the age of thirty-four, so near the age where the curse would surely claim his life forever—he could but hope the sacrifice would be enough.

Burying such a thought, he lifted his wife and carried her towards the bed, determined to bury something more urgent in the moment.

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