As the door closed behind the knights with a thud, Ros exhaled nervously, her eyes peeled on the young King as he slowly walked across the room back to the seat he had been sitting in before. Her gaze traveled to the table next to it, and Ros sighed quietly when she saw a jug and a cup standing on it next to a bowl of grapes, something that she hadn’t noticed in the relative darkness of the room before.
Reasoning with an inebriated man can be devilishly difficult, even if you are not tied to his bed.
“Have I seen you before?” Joffrey asked in a casual tone after a few seconds of tense silence, starting to slowly walk around the room, glancing at Ros every now and then. “You look oddly familiar.”
“Y-you have, Your Grace,” Ros nodded, observing him anxiously. “Your uncle sent me and another girl to you some time ago… As a nameday present,” Ros shuddered as she spoke the words. It was far from a happy memory. When Joffrey had aimed the crossbow at her on that dreaded evening, she’d had no other option but to obey his commands, flogging poor Daisy so hard that she had to be carried out of the chamber, unable to walk on her own. But despite the remorse Ros was feeling in regards to that episode, deep inside she was glad that she hadn’t been the one whipped bloody. Today, though, she was the only whore in this room. This thought was particularly concerning.
“Ah, yes, of course,” Joffrey grinned, continuing to wind up circles around the room. “How could I forget. That… That other girl, how is she feeling?”
“She is feeling well now, Your Grace,” Ros answered timidly and gulped, staring past Joffrey and the balcony behind him at the darkness quickly descending over the city.
“Good, good,” the King muttered and walked back to his seat. “I suppose you remember this
then, do you?” He grunted, reaching behind the table and grabbing a heavy crossbow that had been leaned against it, hidden in the shadows. Ros couldn’t hold back a loud gasp as the weapon was brought into view. She pressed herself tighter against the bedside, as if that could somehow stop Joffrey from doing whatever it was that he intended to do with that thing.
The young King scoffed, observing her reaction. “You are not a fan of weapons, I see?” he asked with a grin. “This one’s actually a new design, I’ve just had it made recently. Now, if
you remember, that old one had a crank that had to be turned, a really stiff one. Pretty hard to load. But this one…” Joffrey raised the arm he was holding the crossbow with, and Ros flinched from this sudden movement. Keeping the weapon pointing up, the King leaned down to pick up some mechanical device. “For this one, you use this lever to draw the string. Like this,” he grunted, attaching the lever to a joint in the center of the crossbow frame, then slowly pulled it towards himself, drawing the string back. “It’s very easy,” he detached the lever and dropped it onto the table.
“Then, you just put the bolt here… uh…” Joffrey looked around, searching for something. Ros gasped when he suddenly dropped the loaded crossbow down onto the tabletop with a loud clang and bent down to reach for something standing on the floor behind the table. Even without a bolt in it, the weapon looked menacing with its string drawn tight, tight enough that it seemed it could sever fingers if it snapped. The memory of what it felt like to have a crossbow pointed at her – even if it had been an inferior one, as Joffrey had just stated – didn’t bring any comfort, either.
The boy really liked his crossbows, it seemed.
“Here they are,” Joffrey finally pulled a bucket from under the table and placed it on top of it. Feathers were sticking out of it, and it didn’t take a vivid imagination to understand what the bucket contained. “So, you take the bolt,” the young King continued casually, grabbing one of the red-feathered shafts and pulling it out. The pointed metal tip glinted menacingly. “You put it here,” Joffrey carefully placed the bolt into the groove running along the frame of the crossbow and lifted the weapon up, holding it with two arms now and positioning his right hand near the trigger. He slowly turned around to face the bed, and the knot in Ros’ stomach jumped up to her throat. Ice-cold shivers crawled along her skin as her whole body tensed, her eyes locked on the pointy tip of the bolt looking directly at her.
‘Why?!’ The silent question never escaped her lips, but it echoed in her head, a desperate attempt at trying to urgently reconcile and come to terms with the fact that this was the end. No warning, no time to accept it… and no reason. Just a sharp bolt ready to pierce her heart or head, out of the blue. Unable to stare at the thing, Ros shut her eyes tightly, turning her head to the right with a grimace on her face…
“… and then you fire!” Joffrey’s triumphant exclamation concluded his speech, and a snapping sound of the released bolt was heard – followed a moment later by a loud thud to the right from Ros. The girl’s shriek resounded across the room as she flinched and her eyes flew wide open; to her right, a feathered bolt was sticking out of the wooden bedpost roughly at the level of her hips, vibrating and producing a quickly fading buzzing sound. Ros exhaled loudly, staring at the bolt embedded deep in the wood. She turned her head to look at Joffrey again, her mouth wide open in shock; grinning, the King stood in the center of the room with the crossbow in his hands, observing her reaction. Ros gulped and exhaled nervously, feeling her heart pounding in her chest. Blood rushed to her extremities, producing a tingling sensation.
“Have I frightened you?” Joffrey asked casually and reached to the bucket with the bolts, picking another red-feathered shaft from it.
“Y-you have…” Ros stuttered quietly, suddenly feeling her mouth become dry. “Yes, Your Grace.” As if entranced, she watched Joffrey repeat the procedure of loading the crossbow and placing the bolt into the groove to the accompaniment of her heartbeat echoing in her ears.
“Don’t be so scared,” Joffrey jerked the crossbow up again, aiming it at the bed, and Ros let out a pathetic high-pitched whimper, unable to stare calmly at the weapon pointed at her. “I want you to get used to it.” The same sharp sound of the release pierced the silence, and the feathered bolt smashed into the same bedpost with a thud, once again making Ros flinch and let out a short yelp. She closed her eyes, trying to fight away the nauseating, dizzying feeling of fear. When she finally opened them and looked at the bolt, she found it to be sticking out of the bedpost peculiarly close to the first one; in fact, it was so close that it couldn’t have been a mere coincidence. Joffrey had good aim, though it brought little consolation. It only meant he could hit her heart just as easily if he wanted to.
But then again… He didn’t. Perhaps this was just his means of intimidation, after all.
“Your Grace,” Ros started cautiously, watching the King attach the lever to the crossbow again and pull it. “I’d like to offer some advice… as someone experienced in providing pleasure. If I may,” she added humbly.
“Go on,” Joffrey nodded absent-mindedly, reaching for another bolt. “Speak your mind.”
Ros gulped, choosing her next words carefully. “Such games of fear and intimidation may be exciting,” she continued, “but they can also be dangerous. What you are doing is… not a safe way of making one tremble with fear, though I assure you, it’s very… effective,” she shuddered. “Your Grace, I am
scared, you are right. But… but I don’t know what it is that you want me to do. But… I-I’ll gladly do it, just… just please. Put the crossbow down.”
Squinting, Joffrey looked at her along the frame of the loaded weapon, and Ros felt a shiver down her spine once again as the crossbow was pointed directly at her. “What it is that I want you to do?” he slowly repeated her question, and Ros nodded sheepishly, looking at him with hope in her eyes. The King smiled. “I just want you to stand there.”
Joffrey’s finger pressed the trigger, and, with the same sharp sound of the release, the bolt ripped through the air and plunged into Ros’ right shin, a few inches below her knee, narrowly missing the bone and piercing through the flesh, its tip sticking out of the exit wound in her calf. Oddly enough, pain didn’t hit Ros immediately – she gasped loudly and stared at her leg in disbelief for a second or two before the terrible burning sensation washed over her. Immediately losing support of her right leg, she leaned back on the bedside instinctively and groaned loudly as all the muscles in her body tensed from the sudden, overwhelming pain. Clenching her teeth, she let out a series of short muffled screams as the pulsating waves of pain finally began to hit her in full force. Shifting clumsily into an awkward pose and making the rope above her creak quietly, she stared down at her leg, her eyes wide open; the first thin trickles of blood already started to seep out of the wound with the bolt embedded in it, and Ros whimpered in shock, still grimacing and wiggling around. She clenched her teeth tighter, breathing deeply and loudly. Each beat of her heart seemed to echo in her pierced leg, provoking jolts of sharp pain.
Whimpering, Ros looked up and stared in fear and disbelief at the King standing still in the center of the bedroom with the weapon in his hand. Something in the look in his eyes was deeply disturbing; even with the sharp pain clouding most of Ros’ mind, it didn’t take her long to remember this look. It was the look he had when she had been whipping Daisy, the look he had when the poor girl had been screaming her lungs out, her tender flesh being scarred and torn. With the same look, Joffrey was observing her now; an odd mix of curiosity and excitement.
Ros groaned, twisting her leg slightly in an attempt to ease the pain. Joffrey didn’t seem to be able to look away. He took a step towards her, and Ros inhaled sharply, instinctively leaning back further onto the edge of the bed, feeling her chin tremble in fear. Step by step, Joffrey kept slowly approaching her, until only a couple feet separated them. Accidentally locking eyes with him, Ros immediately looked away, still wincing and grimacing from the pain in her leg. Oddly, Joffrey’s proximity felt even more unbearable than the projectile stuck in her flesh.
“Does it hurt… much?” Joffrey asked quietly, looking down at Ros’ bare leg, with thin streams of blood trickling down her pale skin. Ros remained silent, closing her eyes to fight tears away. ‘Does it hurt’… Gods, he had the nerve to ask. Her deep breaths through clenched teeth almost sounded like angry hissing.
“Does? It? Hurt?!” Joffrey grabbed Ros by the jaw, and she gasped, opening her eyes. The boy stood face to face with her now, staring her in the eye. Ros couldn’t help but look back at him with hatred painted on her face.
Joffrey’s fingers clenched her jaw tighter. “It does,” Ros replied grumpily. “It does, Your Grace.” As soon as Joffrey let go of her, she immediately turned away, staring at the two bolts embedded in the bedpost to the right.http://i.imgur.com/23TwfHb.jpg
“Good,” the King said quietly and stepped back. He turned around to walk back towards the table with the bucket with bolts on top of it; Ros remained frozen, feeling tears start to well up in her eyes again.
“Do you know the difference a bolt can make?” Joffrey asked casually, as if there wasn’t one already sticking out of Ros’ leg. He grabbed the lever from the table, attached it to the crossbow frame and pulled it slowly. “Answer me!” he demanded, and Ros sobbed, looking at him.
“I don’t know, Your Grace,” she spoke quietly.
Joffrey scoffed and dropped the lever back onto the table with a clang. “Some of them provide great accuracy,” he lectured, “like the ones you’ve already seen. They’re feathered. They can fly half a field away and still hit where you aimed. But they’re light,” Joffrey reached into the bucket with bolts and pulled out a non-feathered one. “Look at that bedpost, they can’t even pierce wood. Useless against anything harder than… flesh,” he pointed at Ros’ leg with the bolt still in his hand. The girl whimpered quietly, looking at him in fear. “Now, these ones… They don’t have fletching, they’re not as accurate, but it matters not if you’re close to your target. They’re heavy, though,” he weighed the bolt in his hand before placing it into the groove. “Much heavier than those ones. They’ll penetrate wood… Armor, maybe. Bone.”
Joffrey suddenly raised the crossbow up, aiming it at Ros again. The girl barely had any time to anticipate the shot before the King pulled the trigger and the featherless bolt darted forward, smashing precisely into Ros’ right knee.
As pain exploded in her leg once again, her loud, heartfelt scream echoed around the room, scaring away the birds perched on the trees near the balcony. Howling, Ros arched her back in an awkward attempt to remove any pressure from her shattered knee; the slightest move of her leg resulted in awful, excruciating pain from the pieces of the fractured joint grinding against each other and against the shaft of the bolt sitting deep in her knee. A terrible cramp shook her body when she accidentally put some weight onto her right leg amidst all the squirming. Immediately dropping down onto the edge of the bed and shivering from the pain, Ros saw stars float in front of her eyes and the colors of the room start fading to black. Only by a sheer miracle, it seemed, did she manage to hold onto her consciousness; she closed her eyes, but that did little to stop the tears of pain from streaming down her cheeks. The wound from the first bolt almost seemed to cease to exist, the sensation of it numbed greatly in comparison to the staggering pain in her destroyed knee.
It felt like a whole minute of fighting with the pain before Ros found the courage to look up again, finding Joffrey standing in the same pose, staring at her. He had the same mesmerized look on his face, his mouth just slightly ajar as he was watching her squirm and moan in front of him. The crossbow in his hands was loaded with a red-feathered bolt. As soon as they made eye contact again, Joffrey grinned, lifting the weapon up and aiming it at the girl.
“Your Grace, no!”
The desperate plea escaped her lips just moments before his finger pulled the trigger. Ros twitched, instinctively trying to move out of harm’s way, immediately feeling something grind awfully painfully in her right knee. A moment later, the bolt smashed into the bedpost by the pillow on the far right side of the bed behind her. The girl howled as the pain from the sudden movement shot through her knee again; as soon as she managed to regain her balance, she glanced back anxiously, seeing the bolt in the wooden bedpost.
When she turned back around to face Joffrey, the young King was outright grinning, looking at her. Ros shuddered, watching him step back to the bucket and pull out a non-fletched bolt. “Your Grace,” she pleaded as he coldly pulled the string of the crossbow. “Please, Your Grace, please
,” she sobbed. Joffrey seemed to be absolutely unfazed by her voice. “It does
hurt awfully, if that’s what you wanted, yes, Your Grace, it does!” Ros sobbed loudly again and swallowed salty tears that were streaming down her face. Joffrey calmly placed the heavy bolt into the groove of the crossbow and turned to face Ros again, looking at her for a few seconds before taking aim. Ros inhaled sharply, holding her breath and looking to the side. The few seconds of waiting for the shot seemed to take forever, every inch of her barely dressed body trembling in anticipation of being pierced by the bolt.
The all-too-familiar sound of the released string finally broke the electrified silence, and Ros screamed from the horrible pain that pierced her right arm, halfway between the armpit and the elbow, scarily close to her head. She wiggled and thrashed around, her pathetic screams filling the air; the more she moved, hanging from the baldaquin frame, the more weight was put on her pierced arm, causing more pain in return. It wasn’t until she finally managed to relax both of her arms for a brief moment that she leaned onto the side of the bed, moving pressure and tension away from the terribly burning muscle. Looking to the right, Ros could hardly see the bolt in her arm; it was a blurry image from all the tears welling up in her eyes, and she couldn’t help but think it was for the better. It was as if her own tears were protecting her from seeing the horrible picture in all its twisted glory, she thought.
Once the worst of the pain seemed to have finally subdued, she tried to cautiously pull herself up a little with her left arm. Suddenly, she felt the rope slip down an inch or two from the frame and gasped loudly, almost losing her balance. As much as she hated being tied up to make a better target, she was better off tied than free, she realized. There was no way that falling down to the floor would end well in her state.
Feeling blood flowing down her arm from the terribly aching wound, Ros stared in fear at Joffrey as he put the crossbow down onto the table and approached her, looking at her with seemingly genuine interest. Creepily silent, he tilted his head to the side slightly, observing the bolt in her arm. With Joffrey so unnervingly close to her once again, Ros couldn’t help but feel her chin starting to tremble in fear again, looking at him through her tears.
Without saying a word, the boy King bent down slightly in front of Ros and reached for the bolt sticking out of her knee. As Joffrey’s fingers touched the shaft, Ros inhaled sharply, shuddering from the sensation it produced, and closed her eyes. “I beg
you,” she wept, her voice breaking. It was becoming awfully clear what sort of a present she was – a mere toy for inflicting pain; excruciating, unbearable pain. She hissed as Joffrey’s hand let go of the shaft and instead touched her right thigh gently. Slowly, the King moved his hand up, ending up lifting what little cover her hips had left and cupping her soft buttock. By now, Joffrey was standing just a breath away from her; his unexpectedly gentle and tender touch could perhaps even be interpreted as caring and pleasant – if it wasn’t for the three crossbow bolts that were sticking out of Ros’ body, and for the fact that it was him who had put them into her. When Joffrey looked at her face, Ros had nothing to give him back but a grimace of repulsion and fear. The mesmerized, entranced expression on Joffrey’s face immediately faded – his hand moved from her buttock down, and he leaned down in front of Ros again, grabbing the shaft of the bolt sticking out of her knee.
He jerked it up, and all the intention of sucking it up and enduring it silently left Ros’ mind in the blink of an eye. Her spine arched, her whole body shuddered and a wild scream escaped her mouth, her leg twitching from the horrible pain that pierced her shattered knee. Joffrey started to slowly twist the bolt in the wound, and a sickening crunching sound came from inside the joint, with Ros’ screams immediately reaching a new level in volume. She thrashed and kicked, her body fighting against the source of such overwhelming pain almost instinctively, her mind incapable of any conscious reaction.
Suddenly, sounds of quiet rustling and creaking came from above, and the rope thrown over the baldaquin frame slipped out of the knot. Startled, Joffrey jumped back, immediately letting go of the bolt in the girl’s leg and watching her collapse down onto her knees. Her right knee crunched as the bolt sticking out of it collided with the floor; an inarticulate loud moan escaped Ros’ lips but faded almost instantly as her body suddenly went limp and she crashed down onto the floor onto her side, coming to rest in an awkward pose and not moving.
For a few seconds, Joffrey stood frozen in the same startled pose in front of the whore, his breath shallow and his eyes wide open. He finally blinked and exhaled loudly, suddenly feeling his heart racing in his chest. Looking at the girl, he took a cautious step towards her and then crouched down next to her, observing her body attentively. Her chest was rising and falling steadily, and Joffrey let out a quiet sigh of relief, his eyes then moving to her right knee that seemed to be completely dislocated, an unbent featherless bolt sticking out of it. It appeared that so much pain at once had been too much for this whore to handle, Joffrey concluded. It was almost a shame.
He stood up and started walking around the room again, breathing heavily and trying to calm down, glancing at the unconscious girl every now and then. An unusual feeling was growing inside him, a rush that was almost making his head spin, but he had trouble pinpointing what it was exactly. This whole experiment so far had been far more exciting than all of his expectations, save for this last inconvenience. Gods, who would have thought her screams would sound so sweet up close?
Abandoning his circular movement around the room, he headed for the door and banged on it impatiently. A moment later, the door opened, and Meryn Trant peeked inside with a concerned look on his face. “You haven’t tied her well,” Joffrey complained and stepped back. “Have a look at this,” he pointed at the bed with his hand, and after a moment of hesitation Trant stepped inside, followed by the other guard. “Fix it,” Joffrey commanded nervously and walked back to his seat. “Here. Use this,” he unbuckled a thin leather belt that girdled the waist of his costume and threw it to Meryn.
When the second guard lifted the whore up from the floor, she moaned, still unconscious, her head hanging freely. Trant quickly tied the belt around her wrists and grunted, trying to hold her high enough to throw the belt over the baldaquin frame. “Your Grace,” he said, turning to face Joffrey after a few unsuccessful attempts.
“Yes, yes.” Joffrey waved his hand, watching them. “Wake her up.”
Turning back to the unconscious girl held by the second guard, Meryn slapped her face lightly, and her head jerked to the side limply. After another slap, the whore moaned, still unconscious, wincing weakly and bringing her eyebrows together. Joffrey reached for the jug standing on the table and poured some wine into the cup, then walked towards the bed. “Open her mouth,” he commanded quietly. Joffrey brought the cup to the redhead’s lips and poured the drink into her mouth, and a few moments later she gulped instinctively and spat the wine, coughing frantically and blinking, regaining her consciousness. A second or two later, the sensations in her body seemed to have finally kicked in as she suddenly cried out loudly in pain, having absent-mindedly shifted some weight onto her destroyed leg. The guards immediately held her tightly; the girl thrashed around as much as she could, looking in fear at Joffrey standing in front of her.
“Ser Meryn, please continue,” Joffrey said quietly, wiped his face from the spat wine and walked back to his seat, while the knights behind his back yanked her hands up to the baldaquin frame.
“No!” Her desperate cry reached Joffrey’s ears, and he grinned, facing away from her and looking into the darkness beyond the balcony of the room. “Let me go, you…” Sounds of struggle were heard behind his back. “Your Grace!” The girl’s protest turned into a plea. “What have I done to you… Your Grace!”
Joffrey scoffed and turned to the table to pick up the crossbow. “No!” the whore cried out, terror heard clearly in her voice. “Why are you doing this?!” He had never thought a scream could have so much
fear seeping through it. “D-don’t leave me, please,” the screams from the bed suddenly turned into frightened pleading, and Joffrey turned to look, intrigued. The whore’s hands were now tied reliably to the baldaquin frame with the leather belt, and the two guards were heading to the door. “Don’t leave me with him!”
The knights didn’t react, stepping out of the bedroom and closing the door behind them with a thump. The girl gasped loudly and stared at Joffrey like cornered game. The King couldn’t help but smile, looking back at her. Pressing her body against the side of the bed, she was visibly shaking. Joffrey reached to the bucket to grab a red-feathered bolt, and she inhaled sharply, watching him. “Why are you doing this?” she asked again, almost whispering this time, tears streaming down her face. Joffrey froze for a moment, feeling a shiver run down his spine. There was something very special about all this, something deeply exciting. It was as if there was something in the air of the darkened room, something responsible for the almost euphoric, thrilling vibe that he was feeling. Not a single one of all the tortures and executions carried out in accordance with his orders had produced a feeling like this.
Listening to the redhead’s sobs, Joffrey loaded the crossbow absent-mindedly. Could it be because this was a tender girl instead of some knight or soldier? He raised the weapon up and pointed it at her, and the whore bit her lip, whimpering and closing her eyes in anticipation of the shot. It could very well be, Joffrey admitted. There she was, half-naked, trembling in fear, her tunic barely covering her body. The thought of a bolt piercing her flesh was so different from a thought of a soldier experiencing the same fate. A knight’s or a traitor’s death was functional, a necessary evil that had to be done; a means to instill fear in others and make them obey. Hers, though… It would be a beautiful death, Joffrey was certain.
The bolt ripped through the air with a whizzing sound, and the girl shrieked when it smashed into the rug hanging on the wall behind her, missing her body by a few inches. She shuddered when she looked back at it; turning around to face Joffrey again, she suddenly broke down in tears completely, sobbing loudly and letting tears flow freely down her cheeks. Unable to take his eyes off her, Joffrey reached blindly to the lever lying on the table and attached it to the crossbow. It felt so intoxicatingly new… It was one thing to ask Ser Ilyn Payne to torture or execute someone. As it was turning out, doing it personally was something else entirely. Perhaps this
was actually the reason it felt so exciting, Joffrey considered. He dropped the lever back onto the table with a clang and reached to the bucket to take a red-feathered bolt from it.
He couldn’t help but think back to that day a couple moons ago, that one time when Margaery Tyrell, his beautiful bride-to-be, had visited him here in his bedroom. The interest she had taken in this very weapon, the excitement she had shown when he had demonstrated it to her… Who would have thought she had such passion for deadly things like this? Joffrey placed the bolt into the groove running along the crossbow frame and turned to the redhead. His thoughts wandered back to the memory of that day again, to that moment of Margaery holding the crossbow and him holding her in his embrace. Joffrey licked his lips nervously. Gods, if only Margaery would stand with him here right now. She would aim at this whimpering whore and he would guide her, supporting her arms.
Perhaps that traitorous cunt Sansa Stark would be tied to his bed instead. He had always wanted to know what was under those fancy dresses of hers…
Joffrey exhaled loudly, taking aim at the girl. It was all a very tempting thought… But he couldn’t afford that now. Someday, perhaps – but not today. When Margaery would be in the room with him, he would have to look confident, feel confident, be confident. He would be the one to guide her – and thus, he had to practice. And then, when the time would come, he would already be used to this intoxicating feeling, and he would be the support Margaery would need. But… what was the harm in some imagination right now, Joffrey reasoned?
Margaery and he would stand right here, a few steps away from the girl bound to his bed. His beloved would hold the weapon just the way he was holding it now, wearing that gorgeous high-collared blue dress with yellow streaks. He would embrace her softly by the waist with his right arm, his left hand supporting her left arm. “Is this where you want me to shoot her, my love?” Margaery would ask quietly with a smile, aiming straight at the girl’s soft stomach, barely covered by the fabric of the see-through tunic. Yes, she would definitely say ‘my love’ instead of ‘Your Grace’, Joffrey felt. He wouldn’t mind that in the slightest.
“I want to make it painful,” he would answer just as quietly, whispering in her ear. “Very painful.”
“Oh, I know just the spot,” Margaery would purr in reply and lower the crossbow, pointing it slightly above the triangle at the girl’s crotch…http://i.imgur.com/sRKCF98.jpg