Her Grace’s Stable is up to 18.5K – in four days! I know, that’s an insane pace, but she’s relentless. I think I’m almost 2/3 of the way through the story. The Dark Moment is ahead. Plot-wise/journey-wise, I’m definitely on the verge of beginning the final act, but I’m not sure in word count if I’m truly near the last 25% or not. I believe there will be a massive smexy scene near the end that might take up way more words than I can guess.
This is Arthur’s first trip into Lady Blackmyre’s stable. Squick warning: pony play in action!
“Welcome to Lady Blackmyre’s private stable,” the man said in a low voice, motioning Arthur inside. “I’m Dain, a friend and colleague of Her Grace. This is the only entry to this part of the stable, and I’m locking the door behind you. No one else has a key but Lady Blackmyre and myself. What happens here stays within these walls.”
Arthur hoped his eyes weren’t bulging from their sockets and that his mouth was appropriately closed instead of slack while he gaped like a fool. Dain was clearly a horse master, dressed in the same riding clothes as Her Grace. He gazed at Arthur with the same calm, steady appraisal that he’d devote to a new horse at market, as if he didn’t need words at all to access his wellbeing and comfort.
“Come, Arthur, I’ll show you to your seat.”
In a daze, he followed the man, trying to see everything all at once. The high roof soared above the ring and boxes had been built in two concentric rows, just as a small theatre. She might have meant him to sit and enjoy the scene, but he paused at the rail, unable to look away.
Cole ran… no, trotted… about the ring completely naked. The recent mauling Arthur had given him was evident in an angry-looking bruised bite mark on his shoulder. The man wore a simple leather headpiece… er… bridle. And a tail. That part made Arthur swallow hard, though he couldn’t look away. It looked authentic. The way Cole carried himself…
Head high, neck arched, he picked his feet up quickly and smoothly with a little sashay that sent that tail swishing back and forth across his thighs.
Arthur could almost feel the prickle of long hairs down his legs, and he wondered… God help him, he wondered exactly what it would feel like for his arse to be filled up while he trotted, moving about the ring, with that hair tickling his flesh.
He swallowed hard again, his throat aching, and he clenched his hands on the rail. The longer he watched, the more he felt like he was sinking. Drowning. Losing himself into the steady slapping of the pony’s hooves on the ground, the gentle flicker of the whip, and the cool, still mistress at the helm.
Blowing hard, he backed away from the ring. From her. The vision of the pony–Cole! His name is Cole!–sucking him under, rolling him down to deadly depths. A place of darkness. I’m losing myself.
“Steady now, boy.” Dain slapped him lightly on the shoulder, a sting of comfort that shook some of the suffocating fear away. “This is a place of safety. No one’s ever hurt or terrified here.”
You don’t understand, he tried to cry out, but his throat was locked shut. He was afraid if he tried to speak at all, only a desperate whinny would escape. It wasn’t pain he feared. Pain would drive him to the killing rage that would ground him back in reality. He feared losing himself, all sense of humanity, all decency, all pride, forever. God help me!
“Watch her, boy. Look at the way Cole responds to her. They’re one, woman and horse. He’s so fully under her spell that he’d try to stop breathing if she willed it.”