Authors: Blaise Kilgallen
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © 2004, Blaise Kilgallen. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
by Dawn Seewer
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Spain, May 1813
Will this bloody war ever end?
Wearing a muddy, red-coated uniform soaked with stinking, indescribable stains, wet and totally exhausted, Lieutenant Griffith Spencer stumbled into a large tent erected for unattached officers. He threw down a heavy knapsack, a leather belt holding a pistol, and a short sword in its scabbard onto an empty cot.
God, I’m so damnably tired of it,
he thought, removing his hat and raking callused fingers through his close-cropped hair.
Around him, disheveled, weary men snored in odd positions, asleep in rows of army cots lined up in military precision. He saw others sitting in camp chairs at rickety tables playing cards or dice to break the monotony while waiting for the next call to battle. Griff had been directed to one of the larger, twenty-man tents sheltering men cut off from their beleaguered, decimated units. Like the others, he sought refuge in a regiment that stalled after being mired in the Spanish mud. Officers in this particular tent looked to be a mixture of reserve troops—Portugese, Italian, Spanish, and, it seemed, one Englishman—him. Spain, with its bad weather, had been a primary stumbling block, halting the English army’s march towards the Pyrenees and France. Four days of rain, with more to come, bogged down the regiment. There was little to keep minds and bodies active after the rest stop.
Griff sat and pulled off his boots then rolled onto a narrow army cot, one of few available. Eyes shut, he dragged a bent elbow over his forehead and painfully sucked in a long mouthful of foul tasting, damp air. His raspy breathing finally quieted during the next few moments. Slowly, he relaxed, his tired muscles easing deeper onto the unpadded cot until Griff slid into much-needed slumber.
As evening approached a few men in the tent didn’t bother to answer the mess call. Too weary to eat, instead the new arrivals grabbed a better opportunity to drug themselves with sleep. Griffith Spencer was one of them. The tent again grew noisy after those who eaten had returned. A few loud, snarling arguments flared, but soon simmered down when dice games and cards began again.
Griff finally came awake from his dulled stupor. He lay on the cot, unmoving for long moments, breathing slow and low, and going back in his mind how he had arrived where he was. His horse had been badly injured, and he had had to shoot the animal. He had walked with stragglers until he caught up with the main body of the regiment. Now, he wiped his eyes, his blurred vision clearing as he looked around.
He released an audible groan. Tired of the endless fighting ranging across the scarred landscape of Spain with Wellington’s army, he had slogged through endless red mud, torrid heat, stinging bugs, and bad food. All the while, bullets and cannonballs rained down at him from the well-equipped French soldiers. He was bone-weary and disillusioned. Buying his way into the King’s army four years ago seemed one way of doing penance for his earlier libertine, amoral, and licentious behavior. He yearned for the youthful flush of honor and pride that he lost after following in his decadent father’s footsteps. His mother had instilled those beliefs in him as a child, but she was long dead. Exiled by his family and with no end of war in sight, Griffith Spencer longed desperately for peace, England, and home.
Griff sat up and rubbed sleep from his red-rimmed eyes. Casting a second look around, he came more fully awake. He noticed the men in the tent wore a variety of uniforms, and he heard different languages being spoken. It seemed he was the only soldier wearing the King’s regimentals in this particular tent. Feeling the urge to pee, he yawned, rose to his full height, and stretched his cramped muscles. He was over six feet tall and lean, with light hair and gray eyes.
As a boy, Griff had recognized his father as a wastrel—a drunkard, a gambler, a libertine—a man who never truly cared for him or Griff’s saintly mother. Unforgiving, and perhaps to punish himself for carrying his father’s tainted genes, Griff followed in Boswell Spencer’s footsteps during his early manhood.
Later, sickened by his own libidinous and debauched escapades, an urge for penance took him. Griff joined King George’s army and said a final farewell to his father and everything he stood for. At age six and twenty, close to four years later, he still felt a certain loyalty to King and Crown, so he hung on, hating the months he spent in Spain.
When he straightened up, he watched three Spanish officers sitting and passing a bottle amongst them. One of them rose then, wearing a knowing leer and roughly shoved a reluctant, sleepy-eyed young boy in front of him through the tent flap’s opening.
Griff knew that some Spanish officers brought young boys with them to cater to a soldier during warfare. They acted as squires, much as they would for medieval knights. The youths survived on scraps from the dark-eyed, swarthy, aristocratic Spanish grandees who treated them like dirt. A youngster slept on the ground on a pallet next to his master’s cot. When given an order, the boy might be severely cuffed or worse for disobedience if he didn’t move quickly enough to suit.
Griff thought little about it as he rummaged through a pocket of his jacket for a half-smoked cheroot. He would blow a cloud, take a respite from the foul stink of sweat rampant inside the tent, and relieve himself. He followed the pair outside.
Raking fingers through his rumpled hair again, he stood quietly checking the area near the canvas shelter. Several dozen tents filled the open, flat space surrounded by a thick stand of trees. A range of gray mountains loomed in the distance beyond the encampment and was partially hidden by floating wisps of threatening clouds. The regiment had been stymied for hours. Unabated, light rain continued to haunt the army’s forward momentum. Water dribbled under the open collar of Griff’s jacket and ran down his spine. He pulled the lapels together with one hand and stuck the stub of the cheroot between clenched teeth. His dirty, stiff, leather boots squished in the red Spanish mud as he headed for the bushes and a few moments of privacy.
Undoing his breeches, Griff pulled out his cock and sprayed the bushes in front of him. Just then he heard a plaintive cry and noisy thrashing somewhere beyond him in the dim twilight. He shook the last drop of piss off his pecker and listened hard. Another piercing yelp, louder this time and sounding painful, was followed by several Spanish curses and a deep, angry growl.
Griff was no hero, but a young boy being beaten or whipped unmercifully, aroused his ire. He crashed through the thick bushes ahead of him with his breeches’ flap still unfastened.
What he saw sickened him.
The burly officer from Griff’s tent was punishing the youngster. He held him bent over and gripped his scrawny flanks. Griff watched as the Spaniard thrust his thick cock between the boy’s spread buttocks, again and again, buggering him, shoving his rigid dick into the boy’s bloody asshole to relieve his own perverted sexual satisfaction. The boy whimpered. His trousers lay in a puddle around his ankles in the mud.
Unable to help himself, Griff grabbed the Spanish officer’s beefy shoulders. The movement yanked the man’s bloody penis out of the lad’s anus. Griff’s gorge rose as he saw the boy’s skinny legs dripping with rivulets of blood, staining the fabric of his tattered trousers.
The Spaniard roared with indignation and fought to loosen Griff’s restraining hold. He stumbled away from his youthful target, yanking on his drooping breeches to fasten them. Griff pursued the man, spun him around, and landed a punch on his aristocratic nose. The man’s angry yowl, laced with Spanish epithets, echoed through the woods. Blood spurted from his nostrils and drenched his lips and chin. The Spaniard, his cheeks painted carmine by temper and gore, lunged forward and plowed into Griff’s midsection, his extra weight shoving the Englishman to the ground. Griff landed on his back with his breath knocked out of him.
The swarthy officer was two stone heavier and several inches taller than Griff. He reached around and picked up a length of broken branch from the ground, swinging it hard at Griff, who managed to dodge out of range. Within minutes, two of the Spaniard’s cohorts heard the disturbance and joined the melee. One man jumped on Griff’s back while another smashed his face with a heavy fist. Holding Griff’s arms pinned behind his back, the men took turns pulverizing his countenance and body until he hung limp, barely conscious in the grasp of the third Spaniard.
Meanwhile, the sobbing youngster pulled up his pants, took off into the bushes, and disappeared.
Half dragging, half carrying Griff, the three officers delivered him to the regimental command post. He was groggy and breathing hard. His face was bloody and badly bruised; one eye was swollen shut. His ribs hurt like hell. His breeches’ flap hung open, smeared with blood, probably from his broken nose. The Spaniards swore Griff had buggered the unwilling lad mercilessly, pointing to his breeches and the ripe stain of fresh blood. The three contended it was their religious duty to punish Griff for his wicked perversion.
None of the high-ranked English officers who were part of the current command knew Griff. Fighting was not condoned, although punishment was never heavy because of it. Being accused as a devil’s catamite by the highly religious, Roman Catholic Spanish who were Britain’s allies, meant some punishment was levied and believed well deserved. Therefore, Griff was given a choice: stand before a tribunal or leave with a dishonorable discharge with no return on his commission fee as well. Griff agreed to leave in disgrace. Almost penniless, he made his way back to England.
Surrey, England May 1813
Lady Dulcina Trayhern loved to walk, and on fair days, she was seen traipsing across the estate’s fields swinging a stout walking stick, a large, black dog at her side. She spent hours in placid, unexciting endeavors, stopping now and then to visit a tenant, to chat, or to bring the gardener and his family a treat if Cook made extra. Or she simply wandered aimlessly over the nearby, rolling, Surrey countryside. It was her dearest wish to be outside rather than sitting by a fire or working on “ladylike” occupations like petit point.
Dulcie looked forward to her upcoming majority in November this year. It meant she might claim adulthood in every sense of the word, direct her own destiny, whatever it might be. She would no longer be under the cat’s paw of her stepmother, her deceased father’s wife.
The countess resided in London and rarely visited Bonne Vista. For that Dulcie was thankful. She and the earl’s second wife had discovered no grounds for fondness between them. Therefore, Dulcie was content to do without a parent until she grew old and gray—out of sight and out of mind of the haughty and self-centered countess.
Having returned from a morning outing with Simon, Dulcie was enjoying a quiet, sun-filled hour, seated on a bench in the manor’s rear garden, the dog dozing beside her, when Sommers, the Trayhern’s elderly butler, delivered a disturbing missive.
Dulcie was both surprised and disgruntled to receive a letter from the Countess of Eberley. Her stepmother had written her no more than once or twice since the earl’s demise two years ago when Dulcie was almost nineteen.
The Earl of Eberley had stuck his spoon in the wall during a visit to his club in St. James. Dulcie had been devastated by his loss even though she hadn’t seen much of him after he abruptly married a second time. She had dyed her clothes and wore unremitting black for months afterward. Only this spring was she coming out of mourning and donned stark grey or dull brown shades.
All that while, Dulcie hoped the countess had forgotten all about her. But, no, the morning post arrived from the woman she most heartily disliked.
Dulcie read in Agina’s spidery handwriting.
“It is time you came to London for a Season. I have been lax by not asking you much sooner, but I wish you to do so now. After all, it is time you sought a husband, and I will find you someone suitable…”
“I don’t want or need a husband,” Dulcie muttered to herself. “I’m quite happy the way I am, thank you.”
She certainly didn’t want her stepmother picking out one for her. Although, knowing Agina, she would probably choose a pox-marked, ancient dodderer, someone with gobs of coin. Dulcie knew when she first met her stepmother, that the woman was obsessed about wealth.