Warnings: Bad language and M/M sexual situations.
Disclaimer: The Bee owns none of the characters used
in this story.
Summary: A new take on the old fable of Rumpelstiltskin.
Xander is held in the tower prison of the evil King Liam and has
been ordered to spin a roomful of straw to gold. Can he do
it? Is there someone who can help?
Author's note: This story is not betaed or spell checked by anyone but me.
If there are errors that you simply have to point out, feel free but don't be upset
if I don't care.
Thanks to Naughty Fae for the pre-read and encouragement
Xander swung his ax one last time and embedded the blade into the stump of the tree he had
just felled. The day was late and his muscles screamed and ached from the long day's
strenuous labor but he was bolstered by the huge stack of firewood that had been accumulated
for the king's due. It was enough for the payment of the rent on his family's land with a
small amount left over for their own use as the winter closed in.
Xander pulled a small cloth square from his back pocket and he swiped the perspiration from
his forehead. He carded his fingers through his thick, long, dark hair and pushed it away
from his face as he stretched and flexed the cramps from his back.
His shirt clung to his sweaty, overheated body clearly displaying the hard rippled muscles of
his chest and arms and the flat contour of his stomach. He was a young man in his prime
and possessed of a form and strength that was developed through years of physical work
aided by a lazy father.
With his hand shading his eyes, Xander visually measured the angle of the retreating
sun and knew he needed to start back through the forest of the wolves in order to make
it to his cottage before total darkness descended. It was a familiar path. One that he
had traveled nearly every day of his life and, therefore had no fear of losing his way.
But Xander understood that there were things in the dark forest that a wise man avoided.
Xander Harris was no coward but Xander Harris was also no fool.
Before beginning his journey home, Xander unbuttoned his trousers and pulled out his dick.
As he took his piss, he made sure that he spattered his urine all over the wood that would
warm the King's chamber assuring that the crackling heat would be accompanied by a
slight sour stench. It was Xander's only form of protest against a cruel monarchy.
With a self-satisfied chuckle, he finished and tucked himself away before buttoning the
heavy woolen trousers his mother had made him years ago. Although they were snug and
much too short, he was in no immediate need of another pair. Xander was a man content
with his few worldly possessions.
After again checking the angle of the setting sun, Xander reached for his ax but just as his
fingers wrapped themselves around the wooden handle...
He never saw them coming.
Armed guards who wore the kings colors seemed to appear from behind every tree.
They charged at him from all sides and burst from the concealment of the undergrowth.
They whooped and shouted to frighten and distract him as they swooped down, knocking
him to the ground and pouncing as Xander flailed, struggled and fought.
Ultimately, Xander had never had a chance. His strength and agility were no match for
their sheer numbers and they quickly contained him trussing him up like a prized hog headed
for the butcher all the while he begged for an explanation. "Please. Stop. What have I done?
I am but a lowly woodcutter. I pay our lease and tax with the king's wood. Please, tell
me. What is my offense?"
The King's guards responded with only grunts of exertion. The boy was strong and it took all
of them in a concerted effort to contain him as more than one of them took a random punch to
the chin or a kick to the shin. If they hadn't been given explicit orders to collect the
boy unharmed, they would had beaten the insolent whelp within an inch of his life for
the outrageous offense of resisting.
When the job was done and the prisoner's hands were secured behind his back as well as a
sturdy rope knotted at his ankles, only then did the man who appeared to be in charge,
speak. "Be silent! I am King Liam O'Connor's guardsman, Riley Finn and we owe you
no explanation! The King has ordered that you be brought to him and it is not for you
to question why."
Xander laid helpless on the cold, damp ground. The smell of the musty, wet leaves, fungus
and fresh cut wood filled his nose. His mind whirled with the need to understand as he
continued to struggle against the strong ties that bound him. "No, please, I can't go with you.
My mother needs me. My family depends on me. Without the rabbits and wood I bring,
my parents will go hungry and cold."
Finn was disgusted by the boy's pathetic words and had no intention of listening to the
whining for the three days it would take to travel back to the castle so he spat out the one
lie that he hoped would hurt the lad the most and insure his silence. "Your family is dead.
Their cottage burned. We left their bodies on our way here and we dumped them into
unmarked graves in the ground. They have no further need of you, your wood or you
pitiful hunting skills."
Xander was dumbstruck. The words slammed into him with more power than any of the
guards physical blows and it knocked the wind from his body. He fell quiet, so
overwhelmed with shock that he couldn't even feel sad. He couldn't feel anything but the
cold that rushed through him and he was unaware of the hot tears that streamed down
his face to form a muddy puddle on the ground.
The next three days were a blur. During the long hours of sunlight, the group marched
steadily through the forests and trails of the deep woods. They cut their way through the
low hanging branches and the heavy undergrowth. They stopped to drink from the clean,
fresh streams that flowed from the snow melt of the mountains and they ate heartily of the
bounty supplied by the land.
As they traveled, the guards chatted amongst themselves. They compared notes on the
bodies and talents of the women in the King's court and they laughed about their exploits
and conquests. They shared gossip and they seemed to have all but forgotten about the
young man who now trudged silently in the center of their pack. He walked as if his legs
were made of lead and his head hung low.
Xander ate very little and drank even less as his will to live dwindled with each step he took.
His family was his whole world and now they were gone. His father may have been a
drunkard but he was still his father. He had given Xander life, a roof over his head and, in
his younger, sober years, taught his son about the forest and survival. Xander had always
feared his father would die sometime soon but he had thought it would be at the leanings of
the drink. Not this. Not by blades and brutality. That was so wrong and unexpected.
But the real pain, the all consuming anguish came from the loss of his beloved mother. She
had been the stalwart of his life. His anchor. His greatest supporter and the very reason for
him to live. Without her, what did he have? Why even try to escape? There was nothing
worse they could do to him now.
He didn't care that his back and legs carried the deep ache of miles and miles of walking or
that his arms and shoulders were cramped from the immobility of his hands being bound at
the wrists. His empty stomach growled and his lips were cracked from the lack of drink.
But the worst pain was the knowledge that, in some way, Xander was apparently
responsible. For whatever reason the King had ordered his arrest, it was the same reason
that his home had been burned and his family murdered. It was as if they had died by
Xander's own hand. It was a sickening revelation that pounded itself into Xander's brain
with every footfall he took and every dream as he slept.
On the morning of the third day, Riley rose early before the light of the sun. He stepped
behind the very tree to which Xander had been tethered and as if he were totally unaware
of the prisoner sitting slumped on the ground, Riley tugged his morning wood from his
uniform trousers. He squared his shoulders and he sighed as he released a steady stream
of acrid smelling hot piss. "Ahhh."
Xander turned his face away. His expression was flat and showed no response to the
insult. His own bladder was full to capacity and his need to pee urgent but he couldn't
even stir up the care to ask.
After taking his time to shake, fondle and finally tuck himself away, Riley pulled the ropes
loose and he grabbed Xander by the arm roughly jerking the prisoner to his feet with
the command, "Relieve yourself!"
Xander did as he was told. He unbuttoned his tattered trousers and he removed his penis
under the watchful leer of the King's guard. As Xander urinated, Riley laughed. "I'll bet
you bring pleasure to all of the skanky maidens in your village with a proud tool such as that."
The off kilter comment surprised Xander and he turned with his dick still in his hand. "I
don't..." As he spoke, the movement and shift caused his stream to spatter next to Riley's
boot and splash onto his uniform leg resulting in an outraged, "HEY!" as the guard jumped
back out of the way. Immediately his fist drew up and aimed directly for Xander's face until
the order of 'unharmed' replayed in his mind.
Riley seethed and it took all of his self control not to beat the insolent serf to within an inch
of his life. "You worthless piece of cow pie! Look what you have done! I should make you
lick this off with your own tongue before I cut it out! You think you are so smart? Well we
will see just how smart you really are. We will see about that special talent you are said
to possess. This very day we will arrive back at the castle of the King where you will be
secured in the prison tower. Then we shall see. Then you will live or die and if you die, I
will personally raise the blade to your filthy, worthless neck."
With his tirade spent, Riley spun on his heels and marched off to join the other guards
leaving Xander to right himself and wonder what the brute was babbling on about.
Special talent? Xander was but a common woodcutter. He had no special talents. It
was bewildering and confusing but as he wondered, he felt something stir within him.
An awakening. A curiosity. An understanding that whatever it was that Riley and the
other guards seemed to think he could do was the reason behind his family's demise.
So all of this was for nothing. His home was burned and his parents killed for nothing.
And when they discovered that Xander was possessing of no talent beyond the chopping of
a tree or the catching of small game, he would finally find the peace of his mother and father.
It was almost a relief. They would arrive at the castle today and probably by nightfall,
Xander's life and misery would mercifully end.
By the hour of the high noon sun, their surroundings began to change. The cool of the
dark forest had broken. The trees were fewer and further between allowing for the blue
sky and the white clouds to be visible overhead. Beneath their feet, the path they took
was beaten down and worn as if used on a near daily basis. More than once, Xander
noticed off to the side, a rope trap had been set hanging in a tree as either a booby trap
for an intruder or a lazy man's way of capturing a large animal for meat.
It was all signs of a populace. A nearby settlement. It was a knowledge that was given
credence and confirmation when, without warning, they stepped from the woods into a
bright, sunny clearing that contained several thatch roofed cottages. Suddenly, there were
signs of life everywhere. It was not at all like the tiny village near where Xander lived. This
was a whirlwind of activity with people milling about everywhere.
There were mules pulling wagons and dogs barking as they darted about. Off to the left was
a small stand set up with baskets of fruit and vegetables on display and several women in
clean dresses and bonnets stood evaluating and discussing the quality of the offering. The din
of the noise was startling and under different circumstances, Xander would have been
delighted to join in and observe.
As it was, he was cruelly reminded of his situation by the stares and pointing fingers of
the residents as he was shuffled past with his hands tied and the guards surrounding him.
The women pointed and whispered among themselves. The men scowled and the young
boys threw rocks and rotten fruit at him until Riley shouted and sent them running.
Without pause to engage in the distractions , the troupe marched on through to the far limit
of the village. Just before leaving the small town behind, one young girl rushed up and
offered Riley an apple which he accepted with a smile and a wink but no hesitation in his
step as they moved ever onward.
Again, they were in a barren pasture but now, Xander noticed another shift in the terrain.
For days, the landscape had been rolling hills and valleys but this land was flat and
widely expansive. There were few trees and the ground was furrowed with uniform
sprouts coming up in long, green rows. Xander had heard of families who lived entirely
by the planting and selling of crops from the ground but he didn't see how it was possible
to exist without the bounty of the trees.
Soon, he began to notice random cottages dotting the landscape and although it was difficult
to estimate their distance, one thing was obvious. These cottages were much more
affluent. They were larger, built of fine, sturdy materials and most had long, fenced animal
pens at the side. Whoever these people were, Xander was certain they were not serfs or
land workers like him. These must be the King's favorites. The rich and privileged.
"There! There it is!" The front guardsman's shouts caught Xander attention and he looked in
the direction of indication. What he saw sent a shockwave of reality rushing through him. It
was confirmation of everything that had happened. It was surreal. It was like nothing he
had ever seen.
It was a castle. It was THE CASTLE. The castle of King Liam O'Connor.
It was huge. It was stone upon stone forming a wide, thick foundation that was covered with
a damp, green moss and climbing ivy vines. Each end of the structure had tall, circular
towers rising like a claws reaching for the sky and the entirety of the castle was
monstrous beyond Xander's imagination.
It was as wide as the horizon and as vast as a mountain. It was an imposing, massive
structure that grew larger and larger with each step they took towards it until it appeared
to consume the entire countryside ahead. It was ominous, dark and frightening. It resembled
a gigantic beast that waited for Xander with evil intent.
Xander blinked and his feet stumbled as a feeling of horror and dread washed through
him. The sight of the arrow slits in the sides of the ramparts looked like squinting demon
eyes that watched his approach hungrily. As they reached the final gravel walkway, the
castle drawbridge suddenly began descending.
It clanked and groaned as the unoiled chains inside cranked out, link by link lowering
the tremendous wooden door that would broach the protective, watery moat. To Xander
the entryway resembled a gaping, fanged mouth and he was certain the castle was grinning
at the thought of gobbling him up. The fact that it happened with no signal from the
soldiers confirmed Xander's fear that they were being observed from within the belly
of the stone beast.
His heart leapt into his throat and he struggled against the ropes that held his hands. "No. I
don't want to..." He whimpered as his step faltered. His feet slowed and as he tried to
step backwards, he felt two strong hands grip both his elbows to prevent his anticipated
escape. Sheer, blind panic begin to well up inside him and his brain frantically tried to
formulate a plan but it didn't take long for the reality to sink in. There was no evasion.
There was no going back to his previous life. There was no path to freedom. There was only
the unknown ahead.
The unknown that waited for him in the castle of the infamous King Liam O'Connor.
With the inevitable faced and reluctantly accepted. Xander held his head high. He squared
his shoulders and straightened his backbone. He would accept his fate like a man. If given
the chance, his only request would be for understanding. If need be, he would beg for
the explanation of his crime. Before he died, Xander needed to know what his offense
was that caused his capture and arrest and that had resulted in the execution of his
The last few minutes of the march were spent in silence. Although Xander imagined that
Riley and his foot soldiers were gloating over the delivery of their prisoner, he couldn't have
been more wrong. The returning warrior's lack of conversation had nothing to do with
triumph but, instead, revealed their own fears. Every one of the King's soldiers had seen
the horrors that were common place within the castle and because of that they spent as little
time as possible within the walls, choosing instead to travel the countryside and sleep on
the cold, hard ground.
And that was, by mutual agreement what they had decided to do. The minute they could
dump this clueless rube into the hands of the King and his torturers and they would hit the
road faster than a horse turd could travel from butt hole to clover. They wouldn't even take
the time or pleasure of the castle whores.
With that goal in mind, the small party of military marched three abreast and three deep
with their prisoner centered between them. They had their swords sheathed and their
hands swung in clenched fists at their sides.
In an exhibition of perfect, practiced timing, the entourage reached the moat just as the
bridge was halted in place and without pause or hesitation, they crossed over. As the last
man stepped off, the bridge began its slow, grinding ascent to seal the castle off from the
rest of the world.