"The fairest!" he screamed.
Her laughter echoed against the stone walls as she walked away. The pain across his back searing and burning as he tried to contain the sobs.
Her only command had been to cry and thus it was the one thing he tried to keep himself from doing. Yet, after hours and hours, perhaps it had been days days, he couldn’t remember why he was trying not to cry.
"You will cry for me pretty warrior," she said in the beginning, walking around his bound form.
He was bound to a cross of some kind. Hard wood, iron chains, and thick manacles.
"So much prettier without your silly armor and sword. Now you are a proper subject," she said with a strange pride in her regal voice.
The shame of his nudity muted him. She touched his cheek softly, pushing his chin up so that he faced her.
She was beautiful. Pale flawless skin, eyes sparkling blue. Her black hair tucked beneath a tight silk hood and her head topped with a large golden crown. Even the cruelty of her eyes could not mare the loveliness of her face, in fact he could not imagine her any other way.
"Won’t you cry for me?" she asked, her lips pursed as if to kiss him.
He was sorry then. He was sorry that he’d fought in wars and killed men and had been brave enough to run into a burning house to save a child, but he couldn’t cry, not never, not in sight of such a woman, a queen.
She sighed and her hand fell from his face and landed on his bare chest. Her nails, like razors, pressed and dragged down his chest and the scream came from his stomach, out of his control, and burst from his mouth like an exaltation of larks startled by thunder.
"You will, if it is the last gift you give me, you will," she promised and kissed his neck as he screamed.
Later he was sure he had cried, his face was wet, his eyes were burning, but she wiped his face with a cloth and smiled.
"These are inconsequential tears. It is the animal reaction of body in peril. No, you will cry real tears and you will cry them for me," she said in the same strong clear voice she said all things.
He looked up at her and then his eyes widened as he felt her hand close upon his very manhood. Her hand tightened, the soft flesh pliable in her fist, her nails just barely touching five points on his most tender skin.
"Now, I will ask again; who is the fairest?"
"You are!" he shouted, trying in vein to escape her clutches and her bindings.
"I am what?" she asked with a playful lilt in her voice.