artwork by callmeplisskin
In chapter 5, Alynnya submits herself to Marcus and the senior council of The Order, and wears a symbol of her pledge of obedience.
Chapter 5: Induction
Each of the council members seemed so excited to meet me! I was getting a really good feeling about being so welcomed into The Order. Sir Jackson, the one with the two-pronged beard, told me he had some ‘stretch goals’ in mind for me. Sir Gordon, with the thick graying beard, said he wasn’t sure his tests could constrain my enthusiasm. And Sir Gus, a small-statured man who was clearly the youngest and least senior, encouraged me to keep my composure.
I wasn’t sure, but it seemed there were some inside jokes I wasn’t getting. ‘No matter,’ I thought, I’d learn all their secrets once I passed their tests. I was eager to learn what the first test would be.
The door behind me opened again and Janine handed Marcus something she carried reverently upon a velvety red cushion. On her way out, she whispered ‘“Good luck! We all hope you’ll join us soon!” Again I noticed the red rose pendant at her neck…she must be part of The Order, too!
It was so nice of her to encourage me, I thought as I watched her leave. After the way she treated me earlier, I was thinking she didn’t like me.
I looked back at what Marcus had in his hands. It was…a collar?? My eyes went wide.
“Is something wrong, Miss Lucksworth?” Marcus inquired kindly.
“No…no…it’s just…is that a dog collar?” The wide brown band of leather looked heavy, with a thick metal anchor at its front. It was nothing like any collar I’d seen at the tack shop back in Gryphonmark.
“Of a sort,” Marcus explained. “It is a sacred traditional symbol of absolute obedience to our order. All prospective initiates wear it until such time as they are deemed worthy for their final initiation. Then it is replaced with a symbol of a different kind.”
Marcus continued watching me, while I was transfixed by details of the collar itself. Rounded metal studs were riveted to the back, but the front was plain–except for round holes around the middle of the band.
“Have you never worn a collar, Miss Lucksworth?”
I barely suppressed a snort. I couldn’t count the number or variety of collars I’d worn. Even in my bag back at the inn there were two. I struggled to find an appropriate response.
“I have,” I said, blushing more than a little. “I’ve just never seen one so…symbolic looking. What with the symbolism, and all. It looks…it looks heavy...much heavier than necessary.”
“Indeed,” Marcus replied. “We wish you to have a constant reminder of our demand for absolute obedience…and of your status here as a prospective initiate. You are the only initiate at the moment, so you may draw some attention because you wear this proud symbol of one who has requested the trials. And yet, it will also be a reminder to you of how much you have yet to achieve, to earn its replacement.”
“I see,” I said. Everything Marcus said was making perfect sense. Well, mostly anyway. I was going to be serving The Order, after all. A collar had always been a good way to remind me to follow orders and serve–as well as make me feel sexy and aroused…I was already imagining what that heavy rough leather would feel like…
“So shall we continue?” Marcus said, his voice heavy with expectation.
“Yes…yes please, Sir Marcus. I wish to continue and earn my place within The Order.”
“Excellent. So Alynnya Lucksworth, you have requested to begin the time-honored trials, proscribed in our order’s long history, to test your worthiness for the final rite of initiation, and to demonstrate your loyalty, obedience, and commitment to The Order of the Red Rose?”
“I have, yes, Sir.” A tingle of excitement was building within me.
“And you confirm you submit yourself willingly to these trials, of your free will, and understand that resistance or refusal on your part will result in permanent banishment from our order?”
“I do understand, Sir.” The tingle of excitement was quickly spreading and becoming something much stronger within me.
“Miss Lucksworth, I need you to confirm, before these witnesses, that you submit yourself to us, the Supreme Council of The Order of the Red Rose.”
I looked around the group and made eye contact with each man. “I do submit myself to you, Sirs, for you to determine my worthiness.” Oh Holy Ones, did that feel so hot just to repeat those words. And mostly because I meant them all.
“Excellent response as always, Miss Lucksworth. Please bow your head.” Marcus took the collar and handed the pillow to Louis, who casually tossed it on the floor behind him.
I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and reached my right hand behind my head. I used my fingers to draw my hair back on my left side and sweep it up around to my right side, baring my throat to Marcus. I heard murmurs and a shuffling of feet around me.
“Incredible,” Marcus said quietly, before clearing his throat and placing the band of the collar against my neck. He wrapped it around and fastened it along the left side. After the hasp closed, I heard the soft click of a small lock snapping closed.
There was no turning back now. But I didn’t have the slightest desire to do so. The collar felt just as heavy and snug about my neck as I imagined it would.
The tingling and warmth I felt inside moments before had quickly become a raging fire. From the very start, I had assumed at least some of the ‘trials’ would involve some sexual demands. Now, I was hoping that Marcus would make demands of that sort, and sooner than later!
Now Marcus was beaming. “Miss Lucksworth, please rise as the newest prospect seeking initiation into The Order of the Red Rose.” He took my hand and helped me to my feet while his associates watched in stunned silence. Gus began some awkward soft clapping.
I barely noticed, as I was overflowing with excitement. I smiled broadly at each of them.
“And now, our first activity for you is…” Marcus was cut off by a cough from Louis, who tapped his watch.
“Already?” Marcus said with a note of frustration. Louis nodded.
“Apparently, your first activity is our board meeting,” he told me with a wry grin. “Gentlemen, please go on ahead and get everyone seated. Miss Lucksworth and I will be along in a moment.”
As the men filed out of the office, Gus whispered to Gordon, “Marcus was laying it on a bit thick back there, wasn’t he?”
From behind them, Louis’s stern voice cut in. “Marcus is brilliant. He just convinced the girl that everything we do is actually her request, and she committed to accepting it without complaint.”
Gus and Gordon stopped, mouths agape, while Louis cut between them.
“Holy fuck,” Gus said. “That girl is so screwed.”
“Hey!” Gordon retorted, poking Gus in the chest. “Don’t forget, she’s a ranger. She’s here to do the same to us, and she thinks she’s got us by the privates right now. I’m going to enjoy returning the favor.” He strode away toward the boardroom, leaving Gus looking uncharacteristically thoughtful.
To be continued in Chapter 6: The Boardroom