This week's three words were Loud, Persuasive, Riches.
The naming conventions of the Tuathans in Tir na Cali, where this story is set, are ... weird. Suffice it to say, it's okay that he's both ap Gwydion and ó Gwydion.
The ap Gwydion boy was loud. Not surprising in a line who had bought their title and position with riches; most ap Gwydions were loud. This one was young, barely an adult (but he was an adult, old enough to be tried; that was important), spoiled rotten, and had no idea how much trouble he was in.
“You have no idea how much trouble you’re in,” he shouted at Sulleigh-who-he-believed-was-Susan. “I don’t know what you were thinking, spilling that tea all over my favorite shirt, but you’re going to pay!”
“Shut up! No-one said you could speak.”
Sulleigh/Susan hid her smile by touching her forehead to the ground. She’d made him lose face in front of a woman he was hoping to marry and a man he was hoping to sleep with. She wasn’t surprised he was angry. If she had truly been what she was pretending to be, if she had even been embedded long-term in the position, she would have been nervous, close to terrified. Tyrion ap Talbot ó Gwydion was known, not just in the household but amongst his peers and the press, as a hothead with a violent temper. He’d already hit Sulleigh more than once, and she’d only been in his mother’s household for a week. For this embarrassment… yes. She dared peek, to see him going for the strap.
“Hold still,” he snarled, “or it will go badly.” That it was going to go badly even if she held still went without saying. She held still. She had to time this properly, and that meant she had to take a little abuse.
He pulled her pants down around her ankles with a rough tug. She listened for the sound she was waiting for, but no, not yet. They’d wait until…
… the strap landed on the back of her thighs with a loud thwap, bringing with it stinging pain. Sulleigh swallowed a whimper; under the noise of the next stroke, she heard the bodyguards walking away.
She let another two strokes land, whimpering under each one. She didn’t have to fake it; the ap Gwydion had a strong arm and practice in dealing out pain efficiently.
“Stop,” she gasped, and he stopped. She could tell by the grunt he made that he was surprised, and by the second grunt that he was offended when she stood and pulled her pants back on.
“Silence,” she commanded, before he could draw a breath to shout. “Did you know,” she added conversationally, “that your bodyguards leave when they hear you start beating the house slaves?”
His eyes grew wide, but the boy couldn’t say anything. Sulleigh continued. “They can’t stand to hear it. I can’t say I blame them. Now, you and I, Tyrion, are going to have a little conversation. But not here.” She opened the drawer he kept his toys in, and dropped a few choice items into a bag. “Don’t attack me,” she added, without turning to face him, and was rewarded with the sound of him stopping abruptly.
“We,” she continued, turning now to look at her erstwhile master, “are going to take a drive. You’re going to drag me out to the car like you did with Judy last week, and we’ll take a little trip.” He was scared now; his eyes wide and his mouth opening and closing like a fish. He shouldn’t have been all that surprised by the word-of-command trick; his mother had a variant of the same power. Perhaps no slave had dared use such things on him before. Of course, Sulleigh wasn’t really a slave.
If he was a little extra-rough in manhandling her out to his car, she couldn’t really blame him; if she kicked him in this shin while fighting him, well, could he blame her for that? Once he’d stuffed her in the back seat and started driving the direction she wanted, she let him talk again.
He was, of course, rather predictable. “Why are you doing this?” he demanded.
“You’ve been up to some pretty questionable stuff lately, Tyrion ap Gwydion, and my employers want to know exactly how questionable, and with exactly whom.”
She could tell, just from the set of his shoulders, that she’d hit the mark. “I’m not going to tell you anything, you bitch,” he quavered, torn between fear and anger.
“I assure you,” she smiled, “I can be very persuasive.”
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