Beyond the Palace Walls Ch. 01

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“Wake up”.

The low, tense voice came again.

“Wake up”

Asha struggled to orient herself. There were footsteps in the hall, torchlight flaring outside the window. Loud voices with fear in them. Beside her bed her old nanny, Benat, in her nightcap, was shaking her awake.

“Asha, for the sake of the gods, wake. The duke’s men are marching on us. They’ll be here in minutes.”

“What of my brother?”

“Your brother’s fled and his army is dead or captured. And you must flee now. You cannot be here when they arrive.”

“You think the duke would harm me?”

“Your father he calls a traitor, your brother worse. Child, you need to move.”

She grabbed Asha’s arm and pulled her from the bed. To her surprise, Benat tore Asha’s slip off, leaving her naked in the center of the room.

“Come now, sit. We haven’t much time.”

She pushed Asha into the seat before the big mirror and took up a pair of bronze-handled scissors. Asha looked at her reflection; light brown skin, large dark eyes, rich wavy black hair, full lips. Her body beneath was slim, almost boyish, but with pert breasts and large pink nipples.

“Asha, to live you must hide, and to hide you will become a boy.”

Too confused and shaken to protest, Asha watched with fascination as the old woman took a handful of her hair and cut. The sound of the scissors slicing through her thick hair sent shivers up her spine. Her head felt strangely weightless as the hair fell away, rich clumps of it dropping to the ground as Benat worked her way around.

Benat ripped a long linen strip from the bedsheet and wrapped it around Asha’s chest, crushing her breasts against her rib cage. She pulled it taut and tied it.

“Every day, Asha, you tie this. Just like this.” She touched Asha’s breasts through the wrapping. “No one sees these. Not in the dark, not in the light. No one.”

She handed Asha a set of clothes she’d taken from one of the pages and told her to get dressed. Asha pulled on the unfamiliar trousers, the coarse linen tunic. It all felt wrong, but when she looked in the mirror she saw only a young man, with a frightened look and close-cropped hair, staring back at her. She was twenty, but the boy in the mirror looked even younger.

“Now you choose a name.” Her eyes met Asha’s in the mirror. Her head still swimming, the only name that Asha could come up with was that of her mother’s brother, Baolujin.

Benat snorted. “A noble’s name? You are no longer noble. You are nobody. Your new name is Bari. We will travel to my mother’s village, far in the west, and we will hide there. There is nothing there, no reason for soldiers to come. But even when we arrive, you will be Bari. You will bind your breasts, you will wear these boy’s clothes. Do you understand?” Asha could only nod. Benat grabbed a jewel, a large flat ruby that had not yet been set into jewelry, from the box on Asha’s dresser and tucked it into her breast wrap. “Only for the direst emergencies, yes? I have the rest of your jewels here, they will keep us safe.” She patted a knapsack.

“Come, now, we must not be found here.” Benat headed for the doorway, peered into the hall, and ran out, grabbing Asha as she went. The palace guards had already fled, and the few people they passed were too intent on their own flight to pay attention to them. They made their way out the servant’s entrance of the great hall, slipping out a sally port in the west wall and into the crowded streets of the old city. Asha was terrified, but as she left the palace she felt a small thrill as well. There was also something casino siteleri exciting about being outside without her retinue. She had never left the palace without guards, without other court ladies. She was always veiled, always wearing a long dress. But now Asha could now move freely, her legs swinging pleasurably in the loose page’s trousers.

The streets were full of families fleeing the city, bent under bundles, thronging the main avenue that led out to the city gate. Duke Graya was known for his boundless cruelty, and the citizens knew that they must flee or die. They blended in with the refugee train that now crowded the road west to Walai. The king of Walai was an old ally of Asha’s father, and the fleeing citizens hoped he would take pity on them-and that Graya would not dare to cross the border. Asha and Benat slept for a few hours in a thicket that night, rejoining the straggling stream of refugees at first light. They traveled for two more days, until the mountains that marked the border could be seen in the distance. On the third day, though, they heard hoofbeats in the distance, saw the refugees running both ways off the road, abandoning bulky bags, carts, barrows.

Benat clutched Asha’s hand, kissed her head, and whispered, “Run, child. Run. I’ll be fine, no soldier cares for an old woman, but you must run. I will be waiting at Naucor—it’s a town just beyond the border. Meet me there. Run, child.”

Asha, her heart pounding in her ears, didn’t wait. She ran onto the moor, dodging others fleeing. She didn’t look back until she reached the edge of the great forest that spawned over the western part of the realm. She cried, curled up against the roots of a massive tree, and slept a dreamless sleep.


Asha woke the next morning to a sword at her throat.

“What have we here?”

The man on the other end of the sword was young, dark-haired, and fair-skinned, with a few days of beard on his handsome face. Two other men stood by him. “I think we’ve found a recruit, wouldn’t you say?” The other men grinned, and he sheathed his sword. “What do you say, boy? Three meals a day, fortune and glory? How would you like to be a Red Ghost?” Asha, her heart pounding, could only stare.

“Let me rephrase that. I’m insisting that you take a position in the famed Red Ghosts, the world’s pre-eminent swords-for-hire and the handsomest group of devils that ever took up arms.”

“Looks like he’s never heard of us, Ouri.”

“You will soon know the name well, my son, as it strikes fear into the heart of men and weakness into the knees of women. Now, do you have a tongue, boy? And do you have a name?”

Asha, her mouth thick with fear, could barely croak out, “Bari.”

“He can talk, at least. And he’s a pretty fellow, even if it looks as if he could barely lift a sword.” Ouri extended a hand. “You’re one of us, now, Bari.” Asha timidly took the hand and he pulled her up effortlessly.

They marched her in front of them through the forest until she could smell smoke and hear the distant din of voices. She smelled meat roasting and, in spite of her fear, she felt the hollowness in her stomach and realized that she hadn’t eaten in a full day.

“Gentlemen,” announced Ouri with a grand flourish, “I have replenished our ranks. I know that he may not be as sizeable or as fearsome as our dear departed Muno, but he has the virtue of being alive, and we promised the Duke thirty men.”

“He looks like a girl, Ouri,” one man drawled uninterestedly.

“Ouri’s getting lonely,” said someone else, and the camp laughed.

“He canlı casino is a pretty thing, isn’t he?” said Ouri, looking Asha in the eyes in a way that made her flush.

Asha was fed, given a rough overcoat, and put to work feeding the horses. Then cleaning the cooking pots. Then splitting firewood. She had done none of these things before, but she managed to cloak her clumsiness as nervousness, and she made it through the day. By the time dark fell she was so exhausted she could barely stand. After the evening meal, Ouri pointed to a small tent at the edge of the camp. “You’ll be bunking with us. Me and Geno, that is,” he said, pointing to one of the other young men Asha had met in the forest earlier. “And Bari, do yourself a favor and don’t try to run.” He needn’t have bothered; even if she hadn’t been scared, Asha was far too tired to think about running. The men stayed up drinking and talking, but as soon as she felt she could slip away she staggered off to the tent and, wrapping herself in her coat, fell asleep on the bare ground.

She was shaken awake some time later. As in the morning, Ouri and Geno were standing over her. She could barely make out what was happening in the darkness, but moonlight streamed into the tent through the loose opening.

“You know, Bari, new recruits have to do one other thing. They have to take care of their tentmates.” She felt her pulse quicken. Did they know? Could they tell she was a woman? What was about to happen? She cast about for a weapon, some way out, but the two large young men stood between her and the exit.

“Up on your knees, Bari. This should come naturally to a pretty boy like you. Those lips were made for this.”

As if in a dream, Asha obeyed, rising to her knees as Ouri unbuckled his trousers. She had touched a cock before-the past summer she had played around quite a bit with a second cousin, a minor lord who was visiting the palace-but she had never had one in her mouth. And her cousin’s small, almost delicate cock was nothing compared with what was before her now. Ouri’s cock was thick, rigid, and she could see, in a shaft of moonlight streaming through the open tent door, a crystal drop of fluid on its tip. Ouri grasped the back of her head with one strong hand, pushing it down towards him, and with the other hand he ran the head of his cock over her full lips, smearing them with his precum. Instinctively Asha darted her tongue out to lick it off. It was slightly sweet, not at all unpleasant.

“That’s it, Bari, lick it all up. I told you you’d be a natural.”

Ouri pressed on her head again, pushing it down further, until his thick blunt head was pressed against her lips. She opened just enough for him to push his cock past her lips and into her mouth, forcing his cock in deep as her jaw stretched to accommodate it. She was overwhelmed by the sensation-the fullness, the smell of his manhood, the hot soft skin of his cock pressing against her smooth tongue. As he pushed into her wet mouth, he moaned, and the sound sent a little jolt of electricity through Asha’s whole body. She tentatively ran her tongue across the underside of his cock and he moaned again. It was not even quite a conscious thought, but she knew, with her whole body, that she wanted his pleasure. She pulled back slightly and pushed her mouth down onto his cock, pushing her head as far down as she could. She gagged a little as his heavy head pushed against the back of her throat, but his moans encouraged her. She began to suck his cock eagerly, working her tongue against his sensitive skin, taking it in as far as kaçak casino she possibly could with each stroke.

Geno stood there stroking his cock for a few moments, then became impatient. “Hey, my turn. Shove over.” Ouri obliged and soon another cock was sliding into Asha’s wet, hungry mouth. She didn’t care anymore. She just needed that fullness, those moans, the feeling of being penetrated by a powerful cock. His cock wasn’t quite as big as Ouri’s, but it was just as hard. She did her best, bobbing up and down on the throbbing hot cock, until Ouri grabbed her head and pulled her back onto him. They passed her back and forth like this, pulling her wet hungry mouth from cock to cock, using her like a doll. The world receded; there was only this, only these cocks, only their overwhelming desire.

Geno’s cock began to jerk and spasm in her mouth and he grabbed her head with both hands, holding it tightly as he began to come. She had no choice but to swallow; as his hot fluid spurted into her mouth, she took down every drop, milking his cock. His rough voice sounded very loud in the small tent. “Take it all. Swallow it down like a good little slut.”

Slut. The word sent a little shock through her. It was partly shame and partly something else. Slut. That’s what her mother had called the village girls who hiked up their skirts and flirted with the men by the well. Aping her mother, that’s what she had called her servant Raya, who she caught fucking her older brother in a linen closet. And yet part of her had always envied these girls-envied that they could give and take pleasure as they wished. That men could not only desire them but take them. She didn’t know if a boy could be a slut, as Geno said, but she knew she felt like one, and the feeling was not unpleasurable.

Ouri grabbed her again as soon as Geno pulled out, leaving a drop of thick cum dripping from her lips. Asha was desperate for him to come. She grasped his shaft with her slim fingers, working it, willing his pleasure, craving his cum splashing into her hot hungry mouth. She felt him begin to swell, his cock becoming almost painfully large as it stretched her delicate jaw. She pushed her mouth down onto him further, trying to take as much as she possibly could, banging his blunt head against her throat with every stroke. And then suddenly he moaned loudly and exploded inside her mouth, his thick cock erupting with hot semen. She swallowed it down greedily, not needing any encouragement this time. Her cunt throbbed; her whole body felt like it was on fire as he emptied himself into her hungry wet mouth. And then he pulled away, patted her roughly on her cheek, and said, “Fuck, that was good, Bari. I could tell you’d be a natural. Now get some sleep, plenty to do tomorrow.”

The men climbed into their bedrolls and were soon snoring, but Asha was on fire. She felt something between her legs and realized, to her shame but not her surprise, that the crotch of her pants was soaking wet with her arousal. Thank the gods it hadn’t been during the day, she thought. She would have been found out as a woman and then…what would have happened? Without even thinking about it, she reached a quivering hand down her waistband. She could still taste their cum in her mouth; she could still smell their cocks in the close air of the tent. She began to rub her swollen, aroused cunt, circling her engorged clit with one hand while she pushed two fingers into her soaking hole with the other. She imagined Ouri ripping off her trousers, his muscular body covering hers, pinning her to the floor as he pushed his thick cock into her. She imagined him taking her roughly, his cock finally jerking just as she had felt it do in her mouth, shooting his hot fluid deep into her womb. She came, almost crying out with the intensity of it, and then, exhausted, she slept.

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