Though she hadn't moved from the white square, Merrie was exhausted. Every time she twitched, Zurl responded with a creak of his gauntlets, a scrape of metal against stone, or the air would grow tense with magic. Even without using her magical senses, she could feel the bone-deep scan scraping along her senses and pulsating in her bones. It only faded when the Loyal looked away.
She whimpered and ducked her head. Her arm shook for a moment before she started to lie down.
“Remain standing… sitting,” ordered the mechanical voice.
She still wondered why the Loyal couldn't detect her magic. She knew she had it, she could feel it right on the edge of her senses. It was there, pulsating and ready to come to use. Only the oath to Parn stopped her from using it.
Sitting alone made it harder. When she was first bonded, she passed the time by using a timekeeper spell and pacing around Kine's house. She wouldn't now, if anything for her agreement with Parn. She glanced at Zurl and sighed. The Loyal would sense if she used magic also, that would make her more of a threat than a naked puppy girl sitting on the ground.
Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and opened them again. It wouldn't be much longer, night had already fallen and the warehouse was almost pitch black. She stared into it, unable to pierce the shadows without her magic. Somehow, it filled her with dread and despair not being able to see clearly after years of using shadow magic.
Footsteps interrupted her thoughts. It was the guard from earlier, the one who appeared to be in charge. He wore the same uniform but he seemed more content as he strolled up with hands in his pockets. She noticed he didn't have a weapon and he wasn't wearing his gauntlets either. “Good evening, Loyal.”
“Welcome, Commander Fomasal.”
Merrie started. Commander? This man was in charge of the prison?
“Did you scan her?”
“I detected no unexpected magic on her body or spirit. The only enchantments found were consistent with—”
There was a brief pause that Merrie almost missed.
“The Justice Geas?”
“The signature matches but there are aberrations with the pattern.”
Merrie's skin crawled. She still had the geas on her? How? Parn said she had removed it. Merrie had used magic since then, more than once. It had to be gone, but why did the Loyal, one of the most powerful knights in the kingdom miss it.
Her stomach clenched. Did everyone think she had the geas but it no longer affected her? Why? What was Parn doing? Was it intended?
“What's wrong then?” asked Fomasal.
Merrie tensed, her eyes scanning the loyal as she dreaded the answer.
To her surprise, the loyal didn't answer right away. Instead, he looked up in a wide circle.
Fomasal frowned. “Zurl?”
“Scanning for other observers within the immediate area. Give me a moment, please.”
No one said anything. Merrie remained still, her skin still crawling with growing dread.
Zurl's voice suddenly grew less mechanical. “Sir? The prisoner has a Royal Geas.”
Fomasal's jaw grew slack as he stared at the green armored man. “Pardon? She's got what?”
Merrie was also surprised but it started to make sense. While Parn had removed the geasa from her spirit, the goddess must have had left enough of the spell to register to mortals. From their point of view, Merrie was bound by unbreakable oaths though she was aware that they were firm promises but not absolute. She sighed in relief. She could use magic, she just didn't want to yet.
“The pattern matches yours, but does not correspond to mine which was placed by the Queen. Judging from the signature, it was put on her somewhere between one and five years ago by Prince Claston. I only have a few samples to work from but the energy patterns fit.”
Fomasal snapped his mouth shut for a moment. “How can she be a traitor then? Did she commit these crimes before? No, the Royal Geas is also a pardon. She can't be a traitor.”
“Sir, may I express an opinion?”
Fomasal gestured to Zurl and nodded curtly. “Yes. Please do.”
“The scan and research into her file also indicates that she has an increased vulnerability to oath magic. This means that the effects of both the Justice and Royal geasa have been increased. I tested some of the known limitations of both geasa and they are ineffective.”
“She is a True Submissive.”
“I don't know what that is. A priesthood?”
“No, it is a rare individual who gains power from submission. The more you order or command them, the more power they gain. Apparently that has a very wide range that will trigger that power, even an order to sit would be enough. However True Submissives are incapable of wielding their own power and must be bonded to another individual. When that happens, they enhanced their bonded master's abilities with their own.”
“So, she's dangerous with a… master? But useless without one?”
“I believe so. True Submissives are only capable of meta-magic.”
Merrie knew that wasn't true. An alpha took on the qualities of their master, like her shadow powers or Sable's holy powers. However she wasn't going to correct the Loyal or the guard; they still thought she couldn't speak.
“Where is her master? Wait, wasn't there something about… a…” Fomasal snapped his fingers for a moment. “No, I can't remember. I thought I had it.”
He sighed for a moment, looking over Merrie.
She looked back. Slowly, she drew her knees underneath her and brought her wrists up to her throat. The smooth ends of her arms bumped against the heavy metal collar. Even without magic, she could see a brief flash of lust cross his eyes and she couldn't help but get a little thrill when his pants grew tighter.
Fomasal blushed but didn't turn away. Instead his hand tightened into a fist for a second before he relaxed it. “Stop that.”
She lowered her arms, but kept her breasts thrust forward.
He frowned and then looked at Zurl. “Can she choose not to use her powers?”
“I don't think so.”
He turned back to her. “Then is the Justice Geas working? I just gave an order.”
“It has not triggered and I detected no gathering of power. The geas must be more powerful than her powers.”
Amused by their ignorance, Merrie found the sudden urge to reach out. There was something going on and she didn't want to ruin it. She kept her tail still, though she could feel the muscles bunching with the effort.
Shaking his head, he groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. “So, she's safe even if someone tells her something. She is also utterly incapable of betraying the country and is yet a traitor?”
“Yes, that is my opinion.”
When he knelt down in front of her, Merrie held her breath. Her body trembled as she glanced at his bare hand and then back to his face.
Fomasal reached over and caught her chin. He guided her to look one way and then the other.
Merrie's pussy grew slicker from his casual dominance.
“One other thing, Commander. That collar is an artifact.”
Fomasal tensed. He lifted Merrie's chin and inspected the black collar. He said nothing but she could feel fear and worry in his actions. “An… artifact? In my prison?”
Zurl buzzed for a moment. “I suspect. While the collar has no distinct energy signature, it resisted my scan in ways that I have only encountered from other divine artifacts. I got only a small glimpse of its purpose; it appears to magnify the magic of the prisoner. There is oath magic used to bind her to the collar, her True Submissive nature has magnified this to the same degree that the Justice and Royal geasa have bound her. I suspect that the collar's bond may be more restrictive than the geasa.”
“She has a collar that enhances her ability to enhance others?” Fomasal sounded worried. “But she can't use magic, right?”
“Correct, the Justice Geas prevents that. Hence it not activating with your actions which I interpret as dominating.”
“She is getting turned on,” came the distasteful mechanical voice.
Fomasal looked into her eyes. The grip on her chin increased and he lifted her up. “Does this turn you on?”
She nodded, her pulse quickening.
Fomasal bared her throat as he peered at the collar. “No hands, no feet, no voice, no light, and an artifact to boot. I thought you didn't have anything other surprises, Princes Puppy.”
She gave a soft bark.
He frowned, then shook his head. He lowered her chin until he was staring into her eyes. “Are you a traitor, girl? Did you betray Franome, it's people, or the Royal Family?”
Merrie wasn't sure how to answer. Was this a situation where telling the truth would violate the geas, if it was still on her? After a heartbeat she decided it didn't and shook her head violently. She worried her lip for a moment but then remained silent.
Fomasal sighed. “What is going down at the capital? This is most irregular. More importantly, who's screwing with politics down there? Damn, I hate people.”
“Her paperwork?” ask Zurl. “Maybe there was a mistake? We have never had a True Submissive here nor… a naked woman like this.”
“No, I double-checked. It's valid and sealed. She's a traitor to the crown, even though there is no possible way she could be. They dotted every ‘i’ and crossed the right letters.”
Merrie whimpered. She wanted to explain it but didn't, that felt it was going too far beyond the limits Parn wanted her to have.
“What do we do, commander? This woman has both the potential of being a great danger, both to herself and to those in the prison.”
He sighed and shook his head. “Get her some clothes and process her. Parading her around nude is just asking for trouble. I'll start asking questions but it may take years to figure out the answer. Someone obviously made her take a fall and trusted that her geas would prevent her from telling anyone.”
“It wouldn't be the first.”
“Yes, but usually the guys sent for the fall don't have artifacts around their neck while they crawl around naked with their cunts hanging out. No, I can't keep her out here, she has to go in.”
“She'll be dead before you get answers.” Zurl sounded surprisingly human in that moment.
“I know.” He looked at Merrie with sad eyes. “I'm sorry. There is nothing I can do, you will enter the prison. Maybe if you are lucky, you can sleep your way into a comfortable position until we figure out what is going on. You have the most… softest body of anyone in recent memory.”
He shook his head. “However, you'll probably end up raped by morning and have your throat cut by tomorrow night.”
Merrie sighed and nodded. Her ears were flat against her head.
Fomasal stood up. “Let's get this over with. Zurl, pop out and grab something for her to wear. Prisoner, walk next to me.” His voice took on a commanding tone and her pussy clenched with the sound of someone capable of dominating her. “Any attempt to escape will result in your execution. Do you understand?”
He shook his head. “Is that a yes?”
She barked and nodded at the same time.
“What is no?”
Merrie whined and shook her head.
“Okay. You're like a dog? Well, then… Princess, heel!”
She obeyed, crawling next to the guard without touching him. Her pussy was already dripping with excitement. Even the thrill of being ordered, though to crawl to her doom, was enough to bright a welcoming joy. She had to fight sinking into the pleasure and letting the energy of submission fill her.
He had to adjust his crotch before he stepped forward.
She matched his movement.
Fomasal started slow but when she easily kept up, he accelerated into what appeared to be his normal pace.
She kept up fairly easily, crawling out of the warehouse.
They passed a number of guards who stared in surprise and shock.
The outside was not what she expected. It was at the bottom of a deep valley. Both sides had been carved back into towering cliffs that would be nearly impossible to scale. Behind her, there were at least three sets of heavily armed gates. Ahead of her, another set of gates leading into what appeared to be two doors, one red and the other white. The white door was far smaller than the red. The red was easily twenty meters high and forty across.
She stumbled, she wasn't expecting the door to be so large.
With a gasp, she regained her balance and hurried to remain centimeters away from Fomasal's hip. As she calmed down, she looked up to the top of the cliffs where a thick forest spilled out over the edge.
“There is a somewhat insane silfae and his killer plants on top. No one has survived escaping through them, so don't even try. Likewise, there are demons in the lower tunnels so digging your way out would be just as fatal. There is magic in the rock surrounding the prison, mostly wards and glyphs, but enough nasty surprises to not only kill you but everyone around you if exposed to air. The only way in and out is the Red Door.”
Merrie shivered as she focused on keeping up.
He stopped in front of the red door. Gesturing to it, Fomasal said, “You will go through that. All prisoners do. I will not join you, the white door is for me.”
The red door was old stone but not painted. Instead it looked like it was stained endlessly. There were words carved into it, but the many layers of dust and dirt, coupled with the erosion of age, had obscured all the letters until only a few remained clear. She only caught the large words on top: Kivas. It was Borias' family name.
Fomasal stopped and gestured to the door. “Now you enter Abbinkey Prison, also known as the Curse of the Kivas. The prison created by one brother to imprison the other. I'd give the history but it won't matter, you probably will never leave again.”
She didn't see an entrance through the door.
“Just walk through it, the door will accept and mark you. I will be on the other side.” He gestured again and waited.
Whimpering, Merrie stepped forward. The red door flickered in front of her. She took a deep breath and stepped into it.
The world around her disappeared and she was walking in darkness. It wasn't much different than entering the shadows. However she could feel the weight of the door on her, vague but threatening. It was heavier than anything she had experienced, a weight that would crush her if she tried to force herself through the red door.
Magic rippled over her body. It felt like oath magic but not quite. It sank into her skin, burrowing into flesh as it sought out her heart. The triple beat grew faster as the energy gathered around it. It reached down but then… it felt like the magic shattered against hear heart.
Confused, Merrie continued to crawl forward until she came out the other side. Despite being a dim tunnel, the light was bright compared to the darkness of the door and she cringed from it.
Fomasal snapped out an order to cover the lights. As a dozen guards rushed to obey, he scanned the door behind her. As he did, he began to frown.
She turned to see glyphs and symbols surrounding the silhouette of where she passed through the surface. Many of them were subdued but others were bright and pulsating. She couldn't read most of them but she saw “Kivas” floating above her head.
“You know a member of the Kivas family?”
Merrie whimpered. She started to speak but then he interrupted.
“You can't talk. Fine, I'll find another way. Come on.”
He turned and headed down a remarkably narrow corridor on the side of the larger tunnel. On one side, dozens of steel doors remained shut. The doors had no markings other than a number over each one. He gestured at them. “Oath Masters. Every single one of them. Pick one door, it doesn't matter which.”
Merrie looked at them and then selected a random one. She approached it and the door opened. Inside was a small office trimmed in white wood. There was a masked figure wearing a heavy cloak standing on the far side.
Fomasal joined her and closed the door behind her.
“Commander? Your presence is unexpected,” came a distorted voice. It hid all hint of gender and speech.
“The door detected emotional ties with the Kivas but she can't speak. I need to know.”
“Very well, Commander. I'll see what I can do.” The voice scraped on Merrie's senses.
The figured focused on Merrie but she couldn't see eyes or even expressions in the pale white mask. “I am an Oath Master. One of forty-nine. You will not know who I am. You will not ever know which one of us have placed the Abbinkey Compulsion on you. This geas will prevent you from ever leaving the prison until you have been pardoned or work out the remainder of your duty to society. Do you understand?”
Merrie whimpered and looked around. There was no exit, she couldn't even see the door.
“Do you understand?” came the distorted voice.
Merrie barked once with tears in her eyes.
The masked figured looked up. “What was that? Is that… yes?” The voice was surprised despite the masked tone.
Fomasal sighed. "She cannot speak, only bark. One whine for no, a bark for yes. I don't understand it either but seems to be the Princess' way."
“That will be… more difficult to get your answers. Do you understand what this spell does?”
Merrie nodded and barked. She wanted to cry and run away but there was no escape. Trembling, she fought the urge to curl up and tried to remain strong. She struggled with her tears until she finally decided to switch to a present position.
The Oath Master stepped back.
Merrie held herself still, wrists at her collar and her back arched. Her breasts rose and fell with her deep breath as her knees slid apart. Some of the tension left as she settled into place.
The Oath Master glanced up. “Commander?”
Fomasal shrugged. “Just continue. Princess Puppy has… issues.”
“Very well.” The Oath Master held out their hand. It was heavily gloved in white leather. It gave no additional hint to the person inside.
Energy gathered around her, chains of translucent power forming across her skin. Patterns rose up against her will. Merrie whimpered, she was trying to obey the oath she made to the goddess not to use her magic but this time her senses had activated without her choice.
The chains were a spell, cast on the fly judging from the way it was being woven together. She saw a complicated set of patterns in it, each one tied tightly together with some new magic being woven into the pattern.
It was a geas, of course. She could see how it was created to cause her pain if she tried to leave or even think about leaving. There were components to prevent her from getting outside of a certain range. She even spotted more details, subtle loopholes and aspects of the spell that were tied into the greater magic.
Whimpering, she looked away and started at the Oath Master instead. She saw the physical person in front of her but then saw more. There was magic wrapped around the mage's spirit. She gasped as she realized she was seeing the many compulsions and geasa that were wrapped around the Oath Master. Some were complicated, the brightest was the Royal Geas which Merrie could easily identify. There were others, wrapped so tightly so there would never be an escape from the unbreakable promises.
She glanced at the commander. She saw the same, the Royal Geas and more. They were just underneath the skin and along the bones, swirling around as they wrapped around his thoughts and actions.
She was seeing oaths. A thousand promises made to gods and divine powers. Ones with terrible consequences, ones that would tear apart the body and mind within seconds.
Scared, she returned to looking at the spell being cast on her. It was a terrible spell, the damage and violence inside of it capable of ripping her to shreds if she violated even a single clause.
It draped over her, wrapping around her body and sinking into her bones.
Then it shattered just like the magic in the door.
Her eyes snapped open as she felt the spell crumbling deep inside her. Pieces broke apart, revealing how they were combined together into action. Some of the hidden aspects rose up, certain words that would cause her to say things even if she didn't know them. A number rose up, 713284, and then faded. She didn't know why, but the number seemed important.
The Oath Master continued to spin the geas apparently unaware that it was crumbling almost as fast as they cast the spell.
Merrie's triple beat pounded in her chest as she felt the energy wash over her but do nothing. It danced along her skin, almost like a lover, but it had no more effect than caressing her.
Then it was done. The Oath Master pulled back their hands. “Prisoner, what is your number?”
Merrie frowned, she didn't have a number. No, she did. The numerals rose up in her head. She whimpered and looked around. The urge to speak was growing inside her, she had to. No, she didn't have to. She choose to. Clearing her throat, she whispered hoarsely, “713284”.
Fomasal cleared his throat. “You can talk?” His voice was tense.
She ducked her head. “Yes, sir, but… I'm not supposed to.”
He looked up at the Oath Master. “Is that the number?”
“Yes, Commander. The compulsion has been placed. She is now a prisoner until she is pardoned.”
“Good. Now, since you can use words,” there was a harshness in his voice, “which Kivas do you know?”
Merrie said, “I know three. Rendi, Haviston, and Borias.”
“Borias!? You know where my cousin is!?” The commander grabbed Merrie's shoulder and pulled her close. His fingers dug into her body, his nails breaking into her skin.
She cried out.
“Where is he!?” He shook her violently, electricity ripping through her body as sparks shot out of his gloves and her body.
Merrie knew she couldn't tell. “I cannot!” she screamed through the lightning.
Fomasal released her and growled. “Tell me where the escaped cousin is!”
“No, you must! He has escaped, I cannot let him remain—!”
“Sir!” interrupted the Oath Master.
“The Royal Geas is activating.”
Fomasal stared at the Oath Master. He shook his head. “No. That's not possible.”
“Yes, sir. She cannot tell you because the knowledge of his location would harm Franome.”
“Why would my cousin's presence threaten this country?” He growled and looked at her. “What are you? Everything about you is wrong! You have a Royal Geas but you are a traitor? You have an artifact to boost magic but no powers left. The one Kivas to ever escape is somehow precious to the country? How can you be part of this!?”
Then he noticed something to her side of her head.
She looked to see black blood dripping down where he cut her.
He frowned as he peered down at his own hands were a few droplet of her black blood cling to his fingers. “What are you?”
She whimpered and cringed. “I'm sorry. I don't have blood… I gave myself to the Shadows before… everything else.”
“Why did you lie to me about speaking?” His voice was calmer but there was a threat of retribution.
“I was scared. I… I spent most of my life acting like a puppy girl. That's how I gained power. It's part of my nature… and my training. I'm a pet. And pet don't speak.”
“Are you one of those True Submissives?” he snapped.
“Yes, I'm an alpha. Well, the Omega.”
Fomasal stared at her for a moment, his eyes snaking back and forth as if he was thinking. And then he sank down, to land heavily on the ground. “This is too much. What is the Omega?”
Merrie whimpered and her ears flatted against her head. “I lost my master.” It wasn't entirely true but nothing forced her to explain she was her own mistress.
He looked at the Oath Master. “Is she telling the truth?”
“The compulsion prevents lies to the guards. She is telling the whole truth. Before you ask, I can also see the oath magic activating.”
“So that collar really is an artifact?” he asked Merrie.
The dog girl nodded. “It can't be removed. Not without a lot of people dying. They tried in the court… it exploded.” Another whimper. “Too many people died. I tried to stop them but—”
“Of course. It's a powerful artifact in my prison. Worn by a powerful being… incapable of defending herself… who is also not a traitor to the country.”
Merrie ducked her head. “No one else can use it though. It's bound to me and only me.”
He groaned. “That doesn't help. Something is terribly wrong. After this, I'm heading down to Franome City and cracking open some heads.”
Getting back to his feet, he said, “I hope you can survive… what's your name?”
“Merrie or Bitch.”
“I'll stick with Princess. I hope you have survival skills far and beyond what you look like. You are about to experience hell and I'm afraid of what will happen. I just don't know who is going to be hurt more by this: you, the other prisoners, or Abbinkey itself.”