The hall was packed with people, all standing in complete silence. The evidence and testimony detailing the horrific nature of the crimes committed by the man before the King this day had a sobering effect upon the entire room. What was already known paled in comparison to the full truth of the crimes. Rape, murder, torture, maiming ... All had been presented in gory detail. All the while, the perpetrator of these crimes stood silently, sneering at any who dared to catch his eye.
When asked if he had anything to say for himself, the prisoner made a rude gesture with his manacled hands and spit in the direction of the throne.
Thakkorias Shakan Boldheart sat on the throne which had been pressed upon him, contemplating the punishment he must issue. The day to day business of his rule was stressful enough, but it was sitting in judgement over cases like this that truly drained his strength. If he had known he would be pressed into service as King when he led the armies that freed Egoria from the tyrannical rule of Draxnog, he likely would have ran the other way as fast as his legs could carry him.
Almost immediately, he silently corrected himself, I would have run the other way as soon as the battle had been won.
He had accepted the responsibility, however, and now he was determined to serve with honor and as much wisdom as he possessed. Stroking his closely cropped brown beard, he looked at the man before him. The King's blue eyes locked with the brown eyes of the prisoner - brown eyes that were so dark they looked almost black.
Those eyes reflect your soul - black as night, Thakkor thought. There was little doubt in the decision he would make. The man must be put to death. The more difficult decision was the manner of the man's death. This nation had known only tyranny and horrific punishment for decades, and the punishment he must now mete out would be judged by the people. It must fit the crime, yet there must be justice in his decision. The people must know there was a new law in this land, one which was fair and abhorred unnecessary violence.
His decision made, Thakkor turned to the chancellor and nodded. He tried to ignore the lock of his shoulder-length brown hair that caught on an ornate decoration of his crown when he turned. It was no easy task, because it was tickling his neck unmercifully.
The chancellor stamped his staff of office three times, the signal for quiet in the hall. It was a formality which had to be observed, regardless of the fact that the room was nearly silent.
Thakkor rose from his throne. Even the voluminous robes of state could do little to hide his well-muscled, six-foot frame. He was a warrior at heart, and refused to let his muscle run to fat despite barely having time to exercise in the two years since his ascension to the throne.
All eyes in the room were upon him, and he scanned over the crowd before speaking. He was determined that his rule would be open and mindful of the people. His eyes met those of many in the room as he looked over those observing the proceedings.
"The nature of the crimes before us this day demand justice. We have little choice but to order that you, Aaron Tainburl, shall be put to death for your crimes."
Pleased murmurs arose from the crowd in the room. The prisoner simply spit in Thakkor's direction yet again upon hearing the decision. A few cries came from around the room, and Thakkor guessed they were from those who had been victims of the man's crimes.
"Have him drawn and quartered!"
"Castrate him and stake him out for the plains cats!"
Thakkor raised his hand before him and the chancellor stamped his staff yet again. When the room quieted, the King spoke again.
"Justice - true justice - demands not only that the punishment fit the crime. Justice demands that the punishment not bring us down to the level of the criminal we must punish. For too long, this nation has endured tyranny and atrocity. We would end this abomination and replace it with freedom and justice. To these ends, it is so ordered that the prisoner shall be hanged by the neck until dead two weeks from this day."
Again the room broke out into quiet mutterings. Thakkor saw that most agreed with the sentence, though a few scowled. Those few who were not pleased were inevitable, and Thakkor was glad to note his decision seemed to meet favor with the majority.
"Furthermore, the prisoner shall have a cell facing the grounds where the gallows will be built. He shall watch its construction and be forced to contemplate his crimes as the day of his execution draws near. Each night, a crier shall recount his many crimes that he may not be allowed to forget them in his final days. Take the prisoner away."
One final time, the condemned man spat toward the King. Thakkor shook his head sadly, wondering what could cause a man to be so bitter and mindless of the horror he had inflicted upon his fellow man.
"These proceedings are now adjourned."
With that the chancellor began ordering the hall cleared, and Thakkor left through a nearby door which led to his private staircase. Servants followed on his heels as he ascended the stairs.
Upon reaching his private rooms, Thakkor proceeded immediately toward the baths. He always felt the need to bathe after ordering an execution. He had killed any number of men in battle, but the thought of his words holding the power of life and death still unsettled him. The bath helped him relax and collect his thoughts.
He smiled, thinking back to the minor arguments which had sprung up between him and his wife on this very subject. He had considered the idea of a bath to relax his mind ludicrous, and had only agreed to end the argument. Once again, his Alicia proved to be right, as she almost always was.
Entering the bath room, he allowed the servants to divest him of his heavy crown and robes of state. As soon as this was done he said, "We can now be I for a short time. I can bathe myself, so please take your leisure."
The servants nodded and left the room, closing the doors behind them. Even though he had ordered them to take their leisure, he knew at least one servant would be waiting just outside the door to spring into action on a moments notice. There was no such thing as being truly alone for a man in his position.
He stripped off the plain clothing he had worn under his robes and settled into the bath which had been drawn for him. Servants, despite the drawbacks, certainly had their uses. Soaps, towels, and fresh clothing were all laid out for him. Having friends who worked magic had its uses as well. The bath was the perfect temperature, and would stay that way as long as he chose to remain in it. Thakkor sank back and let his head rest on the edge of the tub, closing his eyes.
His eyes opened when he heard a voice say, "Feeling better, my love?"
Turning toward his wife, he smiled. It was an automatic reaction to his feelings whenever he looked upon his beautiful wife and Queen. "A little. I've only just returned, Alicia."
Alicia smiled back and walked toward the tub. Thakkor drank in the sight of her, still amazed she was with him even after all the years they had been together. Her honey blonde hair framed her face, half hiding one of her liquid blue eyes in a way she knew he found alluring beyond the ability to ignore.
The simple gown she wore clung to her figure in just the right places, but the material swung hypnotically with the sway of her hips as she approached. His wife had not let leisure steal away her fitness either, and Thakkor could see the play of the muscles in her trim frame as she approached.
Reaching the tub, she leaned down and kissed her husband deeply. Thakkor felt a twitch between his legs as they kissed, yet another automatic reaction that had not dulled with time.
"Would you like me to rub your shoulders for you?"
"You're too good for me, love."
Alicia tilted her head and looked downward for just a moment, closing her eyes and blushing slightly. The gesture served to make her even more alluring.
She moved in behind him, and Thakkor rose up out of the bath enough for her to reach his shoulders. He sighed as her practiced hands kneaded away the tension in his neck and shoulders. Her hands had wielded both sword and magic at his side ever since the day they had met, and that gave her a strength and dexterity which let her massage his aching muscles as well as any servant specifically trained for the task.
Thakkor closed his eyes and reveled in the feeling. The warm bath soaked away the aches of the day, his wife's hands pulled the tension from him as if by magic, and the scent of her perfume was no less magical to him.
He had half dozed off when a gentle pat on his cheek caused him to shake his head and sit up straighter. Alicia smiled and kissed him. "You had better get out of there, or you're going to get all wrinkly."
Pulling water up to his face, he wetted his beard and then gathered up one of the cakes of soap to wash it. He didn't really feel as if he needed much washing, but he knew his beard had an annoying habit of picking up anything he ate. Not for the first time, he considered shaving it off. He had worn a short beard and mustache since he had been able to grow one, and he wondered how he would look without it. He had discussed it several times with Alicia, but she had never shown any real preference.
"Thinking of shaving again?" Alicia asked, always seeming to know exactly what he was thinking.
"Yes, what do you think?"
"I think you need to make up your mind," she said with a laugh, "You could always shave it off and let it grow back if you don't like it. Maybe Darkni or Ashtar can wiggle their fingers and help it grow back quicker if you really don't like it."
Thakkor raised an eyebrow and asked, "Could they do that?"
Alicia shrugged. "I don't know really, I only dabble in magic. Considering all they can do, I wouldn't doubt it."
Thakkor nodded his head. "I think I will."
Alicia raised her eyebrows slightly; a contemplative and somewhat mischievous look on her face. She reached over and picked up his razor and scissors and handed them to him as he rose out of the tub.
"I'll be in our room, so come show me when you're done."
She glanced downward then for just a moment and smiled a crooked little smile. "You might want to take care of a few other things too."
She turned to leave then, and Thakkor watched her bottom as she walked. He felt a tingling running through his loins as he watched her, knowing that her last comment meant he needed to shave down below as well. He also knew it meant she was aroused and would be waiting for him in the bed when he finished shaving.
The clipping and shaving seemed to take forever, and it only seemed all the longer knowing his beautiful wife was waiting for him in the bedroom. At last, he was done and critically examined his face in the mirror.
"Not bad," he muttered as he turned his head to look at his face from the side. He decided he liked how he looked clean shaven, his strong chin revealed for the first time since his youth. He hoped Alicia would like it as well.
He started to head toward the bedroom, and then remembered Alicia had wanted him to shave down below as well. He ran his hands over the Royal jewels as Alicia called them, and realized he had neglected to shave for a few days too many. The stiff hairs would be starting to irritate him soon.
Once again it felt like it took forever to shave his shaft and balls, though it actually only took a couple of minutes. He had been shaving for Alicia since soon after they had met, and the practice meant he was able to perform the task quickly and efficiently. His manhood was about half erect by the time he finished, thoughts about why he was shaving bringing arousal with them.
Once he had rinsed and dried his loins, Thakkor pulled on a pair of soft cotton pants. There was the off chance a servant was in the room, and he didn't want a repeat of he last time he had walked in naked and discovered one of the female servants was in the room.
The woman did her best to hide it, but she couldn't help but glance toward his loins every time she encountered him. Alicia teased him mercilessly about it, and said the woman had not been able to get over her amazement at the length and girth of his manhood. She had never seen one so big, and the fact it was dangling between the legs of the King only made it all the more fascinating.
Thakkor walked into the room and found his wife alone; lying on the bed on her side, wearing a lacy nightgown that just barely covered her body. He could see the shadow of the thin strip of hair she left on her mound beneath the material, as well as the darker circles surrounding her small nipples, which were pressing stiffly against the material.
Blood swelled his manhood to full erection as he drank in the sight of his beautiful, sexy Queen.
She smiled brightly and said, "I like it! Come here and let me see it a little closer."
Alicia sat up on the bed, causing the nightgown to lift for just a tantalizing second and reveal her smooth nether lips. Thakkor moved to the bed and sat down next to his wife, the obvious evidence of his arousal straining at the pants he wore.
His Queen reached up and stroked his smooth chin. "You're gorgeous, my love. I think you should keep shaving."
"Then I will. I think I like it better this way as well."
Alicia let a mischievous smile decorate her face. "It might just be a solution to the little problem we've been having too."
Thakkor knew what she meant. The only complaint she had ever voiced about his beard was that it tickled her when he used his mouth on her. She thought that perhaps it was the reason she found it difficult - often impossible - to reach her peak when he had his face between her soft thighs.
They melted into each other's arms, both caressing the other's face with a free hand as they kissed. She trembled slightly in his embrace, and he felt a familiar tingle run throughout his body as he kissed his lady love. The years had done nothing to dim their attraction and love for one another. They were soul mates, and there was nothing in this world or the next that could tear them apart.
Alicia broke from the kiss with a quiet moan and began kissing her King's smooth chin and cheeks. She traced kisses across his face toward his ear, whispering into it, "Mmmm, I do love it. It's so nice to be able to kiss you and not get tickled. There are so many more places I can kiss you now."
She swirled the tip of her tongue over his earlobe when she finished speaking, then returned to kissing his newly shaven face. Thakkor ran his fingers through her hair and stroked her back as each light touch of her lips sent pulses of warm pleasure through his body.
Her lips met his once again, their touches becoming more passionate by the moment. They kissed, tongues running lightly over each other. Their bodies pressed tightly together as they subconsciously tried to get even closer to one another.
Alicia's hand found its way into Thakkor's lap, and she moaned as her hand came to rest on his stiff cock. "Are you hard for me, my King?"
"Only for you, my Queen. Always."
They kissed again, and then Alicia stood next to the bed. She reached up and slid one of the thin straps supporting her nightgown down off her shoulder, and then the other. A light tug on the hem of the gown pulled its top past the obstruction of her firm breasts, letting it slide down her body with a whisper to pool in the floor at her feet.
Her small pink nipples were erect, poking out toward him in her arousal. The dim light in the room was enough to show just the slightest glimmer of wetness on her nether lips. Her breasts rose and fell in rhythm with her breathing, which had become quicker as she felt the need for release beginning to slowly build inside her.
He reached out and cupped her firm buttocks in his hands, pulling her close to him once again. Leaning forward, he kissed her taut tummy. It was the same sensation as always when he touched her - velvet over steel he called it - yet it was always new and exciting at the same time. Her body quivered from his kisses, and she sank slightly as her knees lost some of their strength.
His strong hands guided her to the bed, lying her down on her back. He turned and leaned over her, kissing her soft lips once more before moving downward to kiss one of her nipples.
A strong shudder passed through her body as he kissed her hard nipples, swirling his tongue over them. He increased his pressure of his kisses, drawing her nipples into his mouth and beginning to suck them. He let his tongue play over the erect buds, causing her to moan and gasp in pleasure.
He alternated between both of her breasts, never neglecting either as he suckled the tips. One hand supported his body above her while the other gently caressed the firm globes, feeling goose bumps rise beneath his fingertips.
With a final soft suck, he released the nipple he had been caressing in his mouth. Their blue eyes met and locked, holding each other for a few moments. Alicia could sense what was coming next, and her anticipation was just as strong as her lover's. They both wondered, Would it be different this time?
Thakkor kissed his way down her body, still looking up into her eyes. When he placed a kiss over her belly button, he used his hands to gently urge her legs apart. Alicia gasped, her eyes wide as his mouth moved over her mound and her lips, which were shimmering with wetness.
Her back arched as he kissed her hood, putting only the faintest pressure upon her clit. Her bud began to throb in anticipation from the slight stimulation, and she felt her juices flow freely within her. She found her hands moved of their own violation to cup her breasts, the fingers running over them. Her love moved lower and kissed her now quivering lips with a moan, his head filled with the scent of her arousal and the taste of the sweet wetness on her lips.