Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane) - Now Complete!

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Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane) - Now Complete!

Post by Damselbinder »

Does this count? idfk. Enjoy, I guess

The markswoman’s body is her own worst enemy. What you need is to be still; what you need is to be patient. But your body doesn’t want you to do that. You sit too long in one place and it makes you ache. If the weather’s cold, you shiver. If the weather’s hot, you sweat. Out of nowhere you can get an itch. If you overwork yourself, or you’re dehydrated, then your body can decide to really fuck you over and do the worst thing of all: cramp. You can lie in wait for hours and hours and hours and then that creeping, treacherous tightness can rip through your body at exactly the wrong moment and ruin your one shot at your one shot. And even if the weather’s perfect, you’re sitting comfortably, you’re not itching, you’re perfectly hydrated and there’s not a glimmer of a threat of cramp anywhere on the horizon, you still have to contend with your breathing.

Every Enforcer in Piltover knew what Caitlyn knew about how to breathe when readying a shot. Slow, deep breaths that moved your chest and shoulders as little as possible, breathing from your diaphragm like an actor, or singer. Hold your breath after an in-out cycle so you’re as comfortable as possible. Pull the trigger slowly so that when you flinch - and you will flinch - it’ll be too late to spoil your aim. The trick was remembering it all when you were under pressure. The trick was remembering it while you yourself were under fire; or when missing, or hitting the wrong target, could cost lives.

Caitlyn was standing on the edge of a water tower, about three-hundred yards from the building where the exchange was meant to be taking place. It not only gave her a point of vantage, but it shadowed her heavily: if someone looked in her direction, they still wouldn’t see her unless they were knew to look for her. That building, and the tower, were both in a state of fairly profound dilapidation. One could smell the acrid scent of polluted water from the nearby canal, a smell that hung always on the edges of Caitlyn’s conscience. But there was little wind today, and so the water, though it stank, was still. It meant that Caitlyn could hear people talking in the building she was watching. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she could make out two different voices. She could certainly hear when those voices became raised.

Caitlyn had positioned herself to have as much visibility of the exchange as possible, but what she had wasn’t much. Varley - ‘the Wholesaler’ as he liked to call himself - had his grunts on three floors, patrolling, and with glimpses through windows, Caitlyn had managed to identify at least nine different people, though there were certainly more she hadn’t seen. They were armed; most with pistols, at least one with a military-grade rifle even larger than Caitlyn’s, and one with some kind of strange-looking spear with a glowing crystal embedded halfway down the shaft. A HexTech™ weapon. She was standing right by a small, pudgy man with dark skin and sunken eyes, dressed in a coat that had, at some distant point in the past, looked nice. This was Varley.

Varley didn’t own the building, but he used it often. Too often, in fact: that’s how the Enforcers had been able to arrange the sting. He was a new-ish arrival on the scene of Piltover’s criminal element; his main stock-in-trade being weapons. With the opening of the HexGates™, he’d been able to arrange supply-lines entirely disconnected from the Undercity, and entirely disconnected from the Enforcers’ usual information networks. Capturing Varley would go a long way toward putting the Enforcers a step ahead.

Caitlyn looked down the sight of her rifle. She could hit Varley from where she was sitting, but there were too many others between him and the window for her to be sure the shot would put him down. She could see just about enough of him, though, to tell that he wasn’t the one with the raised voice. Someone was shouting at him, someone standing out of Caitlyn’s line of sight. She risked moving a little out of the water tower’s shadow to try to see who was talking to Varley, but she couldn’t get far enough to the left to get them into sight. Presumably Varley’s buyer, or at least one of the buyer’s representatives. Whoever it was was important enough for Varley to put in a personal appearance, but the Enforcers had no idea who it could be. Whoever it was sounded angry enough, shouting so loud that Caitlyn could hear the odd word.

“...load of… from anyone… don’t need…cheaper…!”
“Shit.” It sounded an awful lot like the buyer wasn’t happy with the price being offered. If the sale wasn’t actually made, the sting would be pointless. They might be able to grab Varley for possession of illegal quantities of weapons and ammunition, but that wouldn’t come with a sentence as heavy as he deserved. Caitlyn glanced off to the right, to the building next to the one Varley was in. She was looking for a signal: a green light meant ‘go in’; blue meant ‘abort’. Red was just for Caitlyn: it meant ‘start shooting’. That would only happen if things went very wrong. Given the way things had been in Piltover recently, Caitlyn was expecting to see the red light any second.

But no. Just as Caitlyn glanced back to her targets, she saw a green flash out of the corner of her eye. Apparently her superiors were satisfied with lesser charges. Or, perhaps they knew something she didn’t. Yet Caitlyn felt uneasy. She didn’t like the idea that her superiors might be sacrificing a meaningful arrest for a public victory. She didn’t like the idea that her colleagues’ lives were being put at risk for something unworthy of their lives being endangered. As it turned out, Caitlyn was right to be uneasy - just not for the reason she thought.

Maybe a second-and-a-half after Caitlyn saw the green flash, she saw a blue light going off instead, flashing urgently and insistently in the corner of her eye. Her superiors hadn’t been overeager; they’d got cold feet. The signaller had just flashed the wrong light by mistake. But the signaller had at least noticed their mistake quickly. With any luck nobody had charged in fast enough not to see the second signal. Most Enforcers were trained in at least a modicum of caution. So, when Caitlyn heard shouting, yelling, gunfire and that unmistakable melody of good-old-fashioned roughhousing, she knew exactly who had gone in.

Flashes of red from her jacket. Flashes of pink from her hair. Flashes of blue from her HexTech gauntlets as she pounded her way through Varley’s goons. From Caitlyn’s perspective, it was like seeing every other frame of a mutoscope projection, as she saw snapshot after snapshot of Vi when she passed each window, each one a study in the brutal harmony of which Vi was such a master. Medium-height, muscular, with a body full of explosive power, Vi was one of the deadliest hand-to-hand fighters that the Undercity had ever produced. She was not one of Piltover’s finest like Caitlyn, but she… helped out from time to time. One of the first and hardest lessons Caitlyn had learned about police work was that sticking with pedantic precision to the rules got you nowhere - a lesson Vi had helped teach her.

Well - too late now. These things happened. Even if they couldn’t get Varley or his buyer for something serious, at least they were getting him off the street. Maybe one of his underlings would panic and turn on him. It was irritating, but it wasn’t the end of the world. As long as they sent the other Enforcers in after her to back her up, the operation was recoverable.

Caitlyn waited thirty seconds. No flash from the signaller. This was excusable - he and his spotter were probably trying to work out what was going on. They might not have been immediately aware that the shooting and fighting were because of Vi. After a minute Caitlyn was anxious, her eyes flitting constantly between Vi and the signaller, not understanding what could be taking her superiors so long to act. After a minute and a half, though, Caitlyn realized what was happening - her superiors had no intention of sending anyone else in. They were abandoning Vi.

Caitlyn immediately abandoned stealth, hauling herself up the water tower’s ladder to get as good a vantage point as possible. She crouched, swinging her rifle into position. After a second or two, she’d found Vi again. She appeared to be tangling with the thug with the HexTech spear, while at the same time trying not to get shot by Varley’s gunmen. Caitlyn couldn’t shoot the one with the spear without hitting Vi - but the gunmen were another matter.

Any of Caitlyn’s colleagues could have made the first shot. Any of the firearm specialists, anyway. The first gunman practically had their back right against a window, and they were broad, and they were wearing a bright, red cardigan. They might as well have had ‘kick me’ taped to their back. No, hitting him - straight through his right shoulder - was not something only Caitlyn could have done. What only Caitlyn could have done was reload, adjust her aim to hit a target that was partly obscured by the person she was trying to protect, fire, reload again, and then put down a third criminal who was trying to sneak up on Vi with a knife - all in the same breath.

After Vi dealt with the woman she’d been fighting - punching her halfway across the room and partly through a brick wall - she was momentarily at a loss. A couple of seconds earlier, she’d been surrounded by enemies. Then she’d punched one of them and all the others had apparently fallen down of their own accord. Then she caught sight of the shattered panes of the nearest window, and - looking through them - she couldn’t help smiling.

Even from the distance between them, Caitlyn cut a dramatic figure. She had long hair that flowed most of the way down her back in a smooth, dark-blue trail. Her features were striking: she had large, clear-blue, almond shaped eyes; clear, bright, and searching. Her cheekbones were high, quite sharp, and she had a dignified jawline that tapered inwards to a small chin. The effect was suggestive of a bright, expertly cut diamond.

Her figure was just as striking as her features. She was very tall, but not in a way that made her look delicate or ungainly. A slender, swanlike neck flowed out into slim, strong shoulders; her arms subtly and elegantly muscled. Her breasts were high, well–shaped, somewhere between modest and ample, her waist trim, her hips sweeping subtly from her waist, but with a subtlety that was decidedly womanly.

Her uniform looked better on her than on most - a sleek, cotton, midnight-blue dress almost the exact same shade as Caitlyn’s hair. Its collar was high, with a sort of cravat held in place with a brooch. There were small, gold-and-blue pauldrons on the shoulders, largely decorative, matching the gold trim that ran throughout the uniform. The sleeves were short, so most of Caitlyn’s upper arms were visible, her forearms covered by a pair of long, fingerless gloves. The dress wasn’t exactly tight, but it held closely to Caitlyn’s curves, getting looser around the hips, its skirt ending in a swishing, pleated, white hem that fluttered a few inches above Caitlyn’s knees. It wasn’t supposed to sit that short - but Caitlyn had very long legs. Most of their shapely length was clad in a pair of leather boots, the frills of her stockings poking out just over the top of them. Between them and her skirt, Caitlyn’s thighs were left bare. Some people might have noticed the creamy smoothness of her skin; the feminine tone of her thigh muscles. Not Vi, of course. But… you know. Some people.

Vi and Caitlyn had dealt with all the serious resistance. At long, long last, once they realized that the operation had been a partial success anyway, the other Enforcers went in. They picked up the groaning bodies of those Caitlyn had shot or that Vi had pulverized, and they took Varley, and the credit for his capture, from Vi’s clenched fist. The only missing piece of the puzzle was the buyer, who appeared to have made their escape in the chaos.

Caitlyn’s lieutenant blamed Vi. Vi blamed the signaller. Caitlyn blamed her lieutenant, and the whole exchange ended with pretty much everyone thinking that they were about to get fired; except Vi, who wasn’t exactly employed. So when she and Caitlyn stormed out - or rather when Caitlyn stormed out and Vi followed her - Vi was, comparatively, a picture of calm.

“This. It’s exactly this!” Caitlyn’s fists were clenched. Her teeth were gritted, her arms were folded, and she couldn’t stop pacing. “This sort of incompetence is why we never really make Piltover any… better. We never get anything done.”
“Besides beating up poor people.”
“I’m not joking, Vi!”
“Neither am I,” Vi replied, half-serious. “Look, don’t get yourself worked up. The thing with the signal - shit like that just happens sometimes. Everybody fucks up once in a while.”
“That’s not what I’m talking about. My lieutenant could have sent Enforcers in after you once they knew what had happened. He should have. But he dithered. Or - or he…” She glanced at Vi, not quite able to keep her eyes on her. “Or he just didn’t bother because you’re not an Enforcer. Because-”
“Because I’m from the Undercity.” Vi shrugged. “Listen, cupcake, I’ve never been under any illusions about how the boys in blue see me. We’re using each other. To your bosses I’m a source of intel, and I’m good at punching people. I need… well, you know what I need.” She was talking about her sister. That the Enforcers had promised her assistance in tracking her down was the only reason she tolerated having anything to do with them.

Suddenly, Caitlyn turned on Vi, glaring at her. Her aristocratic bearing could be made plenty fierce when she wanted it to, and Vi was genuinely startled.
“Don’t think I’m not angry with you too,” Caitlyn said. “You could have been killed, charging in on your own like that. It was stupid.”
“Oh, pfft. C’mon, I’m plenty tough. You don’t need to worry about me.”
“You say that,” Caitlyn replied, “but you come out of every fight with at least one stab wound.”
“Well, not… not every fight…” Vi leaned back, clasping her hands behind her neck. “Didn’t get stabbed today, did I?” She gave Caitlyn a sidelong smile, and would have managed to get one in return, had it not been for the shooting pain in her arm forcing her to wince. Looking down, Vi saw that there was a dark patch on the left sleeve of her jacket, next to a small hole that she hadn’t noticed before. She was bleeding.
“No,” Caitlyn said. “You didn’t get stabbed this time. You got shot!”

With two long strides, Caitlyn rushed to Vi’s side, and took her arm. Without so much as a by-your-leave, she pulled Vi’s arm out of the sleeve, twisted it so that she could inspect the wound, a long gash on the inner side of Vi’s upper arm.
“F- ow! Would you be careful?”
“You’re one to talk.” The wound wasn’t deep, but it wasn’t completely superficial either. “Alright - it’s not going to kill you. But I need to dress it. Sit down.”
“Caitlyn, if it’s not that bad I -”
“Don’t argue. Just do it.”
Vi rolled her eyes - but she did as she was told.

Caitlyn had a first aid kit with her, and despite Vi’s grumbling, she attended skilfully to her. She cleaned the wound, wiping away the blood and - much to Vi’s chagrin - applying disinfectant. Then she dressed it, swiftly and neatly bandaging Vi’s arm.
“I don’t really think you’re stupid,” Caitlyn said, quietly. “In fact I think you’re very brave. I just don’t like seeing you hurt.”
“Well, for what it’s worth, I appreciate you… you know, helping me out. With your shooting and, uh, like this.” She saw Caitlyn smile; slightly, but sweetly, and couldn’t help smiling a little herself. “Hey,” Vi said, “you finished?”
“You’re still holding my arm.”

Caitlyn moved her hand a little higher, to Vi’s shoulder. She looked up at Vi’s face, and then said: “Number six.”
“Wh-?” It was so much out of nowhere that Vi couldn’t help snorting with laughter. “What the fuck?”
“Your tattoo. The first time I met you, I didn’t know your name. I thought it was a number six.”
“Why would I feel the need to tattoo ‘six’ on my face?”
“Vi, why did you feel the need to tattoo your own name on your face?”
“Shit,” Vi said. “You got me there.”

Laughing, the two stood up.
“Are you sure you’re not hurt anywhere else?” Caitlyn asked.
Vi looked herself over. “Yeah, I think I’m good. Thanks.”
“Are you, um…?”
“Going back to the Undercity? Yeah. Things have been pretty chaotic since Silco… well, you know.”
“No, indeed.” It was not something either of them liked talking about. Caitlyn touched Vi on the arm again, as much for her own comfort as for Vi’s. “Can I help?” she asked.
“I don’t doubt that you could,” Vi said, “but you’ve got more people to yell at, right?”
“Ah. Yes, probably. And reports to write.” She sighed. “I’m probably not going to get home until midnight…”
“That’s what you get for being a cop, cupcake.” She snorted. “Copcake…”
Caitlyn wrinkled her nose. “You deserved to get shot.”
“Maybe,” Vi said. She winked, stuffed her hands into her pockets, and walked away.

Caitlyn watched her until she was out of view. She was always a little sad to see her go: with the life of violence that she led, it wasn’t all that ridiculous to think any meeting might be their last.


Caitlyn left the scene of Varley’s arrest after all of her other colleagues were already gone. She was very thorough - sometimes, it had to be said, pointlessly thorough. But this was not one of those times. In the chaos, in the shooting, in all the arguments, nobody except Caitlyn had noticed that Varley hadn’t actually brought any merchandise with him.
“Perhaps he wasn’t selling,” Caitlyn thought. “Perhaps he was buying.” But buying what? Something small enough that the seller had been able to slip away relatively easily even surrounded by Enforcers. Whatever it was, it was valuable enough for Varley to put in a personal appearance, and it wasn’t here anymore. Still, it was troubling. Assuming Varley was keeping to the weapons trade, one was forced to wonder what he was after to which he did not already have access.

The streets were already dark by the time Caitlyn left. There were gas-lamps on most streets, but not these ones. Sometimes when people talked about Piltover and Zaun, noting - quite rightly - that Piltover was wealthy largely at Zaun’s expense, they forgot that even rich cities came with their fair share of poverty. Because it was so dark, and because her mind was on other things, it took Caitlyn a little while to realize that she was being followed.

At first, Caitlyn acted as though she didn’t notice. She hoped that it might be a couple of prospective muggers who would back off once they saw her uniform, and her rifle. But they kept on shadowing her for several minutes, following fairly skilfully. Caitlyn got occasional glimpses of them in windows and puddles: a man and a woman; the man skinny, the woman roughly Vi’s build. The man was carrying a pistol. The woman might have been as well; Caitlyn never quite got a good enough look at her.

Now worried that it was something a fair bit more serious, Caitlyn diverted her path towards the most public walkway she could think of. But there was no way of getting there that wouldn’t pass through narrow, unfamiliar lanes. Any route was risky. She risked glancing over her shoulder. Probably they now knew that she was onto them, but it was likely worth it. Now she knew that they weren’t just random muggers, because they were dressed too well, and now she knew that both of them were carrying guns.

What did they want? Random violence against Enforcers wasn’t unheard of - god knows there were plenty in Zoarn and Piltover who had some very legitimate grievances against them - but this didn’t feel like that. This felt more professional. More targeted. Something personal to Caitlyn, perhaps? Hard to say. Didn’t matter. Caitlyn heard her pursuers’ footsteps become more rapid, and she elected to make a gamble - and sprint.

Caitlyn distinctly heard one of the two swear, and then both of them started chasing her. But Caitlyn was fit, and tall, and her galloping strides kept her well ahead of them. But that wouldn’t be all that helpful if they started shooting, so Caitlyn picked a route basically at random, and hauled herself around the first blind corner she could see. When her pursuers followed her, they found themselves staring down the barrel of a long, powerful rifle, held by one of the finest shots ever to wear Enforcer-blue.

“If I see either of you,” Caitlyn said, “raising your weapons, I will fire. You,” she said, addressing the man, “put your pistol on the ground. Slowly.”
He did as he was told.
“Kick it to me.”
He did that too. But he tried to be clever, kicking it dramatically so that he stepped in front of his partner. Somewhat hidden from sight, she tried to draw her own pistol - but she was far too slow to get the better of Caitlyn. She, Caitlyn, actually missed slightly: she’d meant to shoot the pistol out of the woman’s hand, but instead she carved a gouge in the back of her hand. But she still got the pistol out of the woman’s hand; there was just more bleeding and yelling than she’d intended.

“Enforcer bitch!” the wounded woman howled.
“If you’re not prepared to get shot,” Caitlyn replied, “probably not a good idea to point guns at people yourself, is it? Now, down on your knees, both of you. And hands behind your heads.”
They both did as they were told this time, even if they scowled about it.
“Alright,” Caitlyn said. “Why were you following me? What do you want?”
They looked at each other, but neither answered.
“Fine.” Caitlyn tucked the stock of her rifle under her arm to hold it in place, then tossed a pair of handcuffs at the criminals’ feet. “Cuff yourselves to each other.”
“No,” the man said. His expression was eerily neutral.
“This isn’t a negotiation,” Caitlyn replied. “It’s an ultimatum.”
“No, I get that. I just don’t think you’re in a position to give one.” He glanced upwards.
Caitlyn followed his eyes. She saw what he saw. She felt herself grow cold.

All about her, atop the roofs of the buildings overlooking the narrow street, where the light drew low and the shadow grew deep, figure after figure appeared. All about her, shaded so harshly that it seemed like they were growing from the darkness itself. All about her, eight or nine of them, looming, watching. She couldn’t see any of their faces. She couldn’t see if they were armed or not.

“You cost us,” one of them said. A woman’s voice.
“You cost us,” another trilled; another woman; a deeper voice, but lighter. Mocking.
Caitlyn raised her rifle, pointed at the figure that had spoken first. At least she thought it was her - in the shadow, it was hard to tell.
“Back off.”
Some of them laughed.
“I know I can’t hit all of you before you could shoot me,” Caitlyn shouted, “but I’m a trained markswoman. I -”
“We know who you are, Caitlyn Kiramman.”

The first stepped forward, became a little more visible. They were hiding much of their face with a shawl, but they had small, glaring green eyes, stretched as wide as possible. A row of daggers was at her belt. Of what Caitlyn could see of her clothing, she seemed to be clad in gold and scarlet.
“The aristocrat Enforcer. Mother on the council. Won a slew of prizes in marksmanship.”
Caitlyn swallowed. That she was under threat was damaging enough to the calm her aim needed - that she was being personally targeted by these people was… it was frightening. But she kept her aim steady.
“If you know who I am,” she replied. “Then you know that I could drop you and three of your cronies before even one of you gets a shot off in return. So if you’re here to kill me, ask yourselves if it’s really worth what you’ll have to pay for it!”
“Kill you? Who said anything about killing you?”

One of the others did something. Raised a weapon, or began to leap down - Caitlyn couldn’t tell. As soon as she saw them move, she whipped round and fired, hitting them dead centre in the chest. But they didn’t drop. They barely staggered. When the bullet struck them, there was a bright, blue flash, and then the bullet just bounced off them. In the half-second that it took Caitlyn to process what had happened, she worked out two things: first, these were the people who’d been trying to sell to Varley; second, that what they were selling wasn’t a weapon - it was HexTech armour. She readjusted her aim, and fired at her target’s head. She killed him instantly, but by then it was too late. He’d already fired back.

In the darkness, Caitlyn couldn’t see the object until it had nearly landed. Only when it happened to reflect a distant streetlight did she see the tennis-ball sized lump of metal. She actually managed to reload and shoot it before it hit the ground, but she didn’t spare herself much of its intended purpose. It exploded with concussive force, not quite enough to knock Caitlyn down, but enough to throw her rifle from her hands. It was bright, too, not bright enough to blind or seriously dazzle, but bright enough that Caitlyn did not see quickly enough that two others had descended from the rooftops. Nor did she immediately see what they threw at her - she heard them first.

There was a distinctive ‘ka-chewww’ sound, like a metallic sneeze. It was caused by metal casing unlocking, and then a series of springs firing, discarding the casing, and sending the coiled black cords inside spinning through the air like a three-pronged propeller. Caitlyn had just enough time to hear them whipping through the air, just enough time to realize what was about to happen to her, before the bolo-whips caught her.

One hit her in the front, the other from behind, instantly seizing. Cords slashing through the air, then spiralling around her. Thwip, thwip, thwip around her torso, coiling around her, snapping her arms to her sides and then tight, tight, tight with every circuit, pressing hard, flattening her palms against her pretty hips, pushing her shoulders inwards and upwards against her body, forcing on her a passive winsomeness, viciously hiding all her strength. Spinning, curling, coiling; pulling against the fabric of her dress, cutting across its noble blue with harsh, black ‘x’s; under, over, across and between her breasts, grasping - clutching; flattening her palms against her hips.

Down over her thighs, pinching into her skin, drawn together with an audible ‘slap’; down and down the cords kept twisting, curling like slim snakes around her knees, down her calves, tangling her ankles, binding her legs, long and graceful, forcing them into one column. A zig-zag pattern of cord from her shoulders to her feet, tracing and trussing and trapping; circuit after circuit wound around her, not giving her an inch, ruthlessly and relentlessly grasping at her, clutching at her, coiling her, squeezing her, hemming her in, warring against every muscle in her body at once - and conquering her effortlessly. It had taken less than four seconds.

With wide, bright, blue eyes she stared. She looked down at her body in pure, disbelieving shock. She was tied up. She was completely tied up. Bound from her ankles to her neck in yards and yards of rope, and she hadn’t even had time to think before she was - captured. In the darkness, it hadn’t even looked like her enemies were using bolos. It was as though a wizard had cast a spell on her, summoned ropes from thin air: commanded that Caitlyn should be bound, and with mere will had made it so. And the sensation of it! The - the ropes around every part of her, pinching into her skin, squeezing so tightly, so cruelly - she - she couldn’t move! Couldn’t get her arms from her sides; couldn’t get her hands from her hips; couldn’t part her legs from each other. Even when she tried to breathe she felt the ropes exact payment, groping her bosom from all sides, pressing into her shoulder-blades.

Unable to resist, unable to struggle in earnest, Caitlyn just stared, frozen in horror at the sight of her own captive body, eyes transfixed by the patterns of cord that wrapped her up so tight, so secure. Only when she heard the heavy thud of boots against stone did she think to look up.

They were standing round her in a nearly perfect circle. They were all masked as their leader was. Three in bright garments like hers; one in cyan; one in ochre; one in silver. The rest were less ornately dressed, but still in the same style. Perhaps they’d have done so in any case, but it accommodated the HexTech armour they all wore.
“You’ve cost us,” the scarlet one said. “Now you’ve cost us a brother too.”
“You’ve cost us,” the cyan one said. “But don’t worry.”
“But don’t worry,” the ochre one said. “You’ll pay us back.”
“You’ll pay us back,” the silver one said. “Every penny.”

Only now did Caitlyn snap out of her shock enough to struggle, but the moment she started she was restrained. Two pairs of hands from the darkness grabbed her, one taking each shoulder, suppressing her squirming before it could even start, leather-gloved hands curling around her upper arms, fingers pressing through her dress almost as tightly as the ropes. It was a new shock - not so much the feeling of hands on her, of being touched without her permission, but that in theory she knew how to fight back. She’d had fairly extensive self-defence training, knew how to respond when grabbed from behind, even if it was by two people. She could imagine herself doing it, could will herself to do it - but the ropes… she - she just couldn’t get free!

“Get off!” she shouted, thrusting forward, not hard enough to get out of her captors’ grasp, but hard enough to tax their strength. She felt their breath against her neck, felt the heat of them close to her, felt a still greater heat in her own breast as she fought - as she failed to fight. “What do you want from me?! What - ah!”

The four in colours had closed on her, moving so quickly that Caitlyn almost hadn’t seen them. Suddenly, scarlet’s face was right up against Caitlyn’s, their noses almost touching.
“We told you you would pay,” she said. “What do you think that means, Caitlyn?”
“It could mean all sorts of things,” the one in silver said. “You are very… pretty.” She brushed the back of her hands against Caitlyn’s cheek, laughing lightly when her captive pulled away.
“Not just that,” the one in ochre said. “You’re beautiful.” She teased a few strands of Caitlyn’s long, blue hair between her fingers, held them to her nose.
“Not just that,” the one in cyan said. “You’re ravishing.” She held herself close to Caitlyn. “Mm… and you smell of… lilies.” Lightly, she pressed two of her fingertips against Caitlyn’s soft, bare thigh. Over Caitlyn’s indignant protests, she just laughed. “Such a temper. I wonder what you’re imagining?”
“I wonder what you think we want.”
“I wonder what kind of payment you think you can give us.”
“Such a pity.”

“Such a shame.”
“Such a riot! The truth is so dull!”
“So literal.”
“So prosaic.”

The one in scarlet took Caitlyn by the chin, forced her to look her captor in the eye. Caitlyn tried at least to stay looking indignant, but she couldn’t keep the fear from her face, couldn’t keep the blush from her cheeks.
“Perhaps we misled you. When we say you’ll pay, we do mean ‘pay’ - but I suppose strictly speaking we don’t mean you’ll pay. What we mean…”
“ that you’ll be paid for.”
“Wh-what?” Caitlyn stammered. She couldn’t see her captors’ mouths, but she was sure they were all smiling. “You - you’re going to sell me?”
“I suppose.”
“Sort of.”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“But it’s not so bad.” The one in scarlet drew Caitlyn closer. “We’re only going to sell you to people who love you.”
“Work it out, Caitlyn. You’re rich - your family is rich.”
“What price won’t they pay for their sweet, beautiful daughter?”
“You’re going to ransom me?” For a moment, Caitlyn’s dignity returned, and she turned up her nose at them. “Then you’re all fools. My family will never negofhfhynghhhhhHH!”

Her courage had been choked into nonsense by something that the one in ochre had pushed into her mouth: a small wad of thick, yellow sponge.
“Wh…? Fnghghhhfffff!!” Caitlyn tried to spit it out, but her efforts were immediately, and humiliatingly stymied. One of the ones behind her, a no-name in dull robes had whipped a strong, white length of fabric over Caitlyn’s mouth, a strong, band of white covering her face from just above her chin to just below her nose, strong enough to silence her, tight enough that you could see the outline of her soft, closed lips beneath it. It sealed in the sponge, sealed her lips, and sealed away her attempt at defiance. The second she had found her courage, they had taken it away again - or at least rendered it useless.

“MMPHH! MM-MMH! NMMPHHH! NMMMPHHHHH!!” With more vigour than ever, Caitlyn thrashed, writhing and squirming against her bonds, twisting and wriggling her hips, her short skirt swishing about the tops of her thighs, throwing her head this way and that as she tried not to let them knot her gag, knocking her own cap from her head, throwing her long blue hair about her in dark waves as she fought, squeezing her eyes shut in agonized frustration as she was so utterly overpowered by the ropes, by the criminals holding her, and by the peals of mocking laughter.

“No voice for you, Caitlyn,” the one in scarlet said, admiring the Enforcer’s sinuous, captive dance. “Nothing at all for you, Caitlyn. Not until your family buys you back. She seized Caitlyn by the hips, pulling her away from the others, right up against her own body, shocking Caitlyn with her strength.
“Mh! Mhh!” Caitlyn whimpered, looking down with wide, wet eyes. Down, because the woman in scarlet was at least five inches shorter than her.
“Until that happens,” the scarlet woman said, “you belong to the Robes. You’re not an Enforcer. You’re not a markswoman. You’re not anything, except a hostage. And until your family pays for everything else to be given back to you, that’s all you are.”
“A belonging.”
“A treasure.”

She was almost panting. She couldn’t look at them She gave little glances here and there, but she couldn’t meet any of their eyes. They frightened her, and though she knew that they were trying to demoralize her, her cognizance didn’t stop it working perfectly. Her shoulders dropped. Her eyes dropped. Her chin dropped, almost to her chest.
“Good girl,” the scarlet woman said, running her hand casually over Caitlyn’s hair. She put one arm around Caitlyn’s shoulder, lowered one hand to Caitlyn’s knees - and then hauled all five-foot-ten of her captive up into her arms.

“Mmmhhhh!!” Caitlyn cried, crimsoning as she was lifted, astonished that this woman so much smaller than her could bear her so easily. It made her look even taller, made her defeat all the more anguishing, all the more humiliating, for its apparent lopsidedness: like a strong, swift mare brought down by nothing bigger or more fearsome than a fox. She struggled, wriggling against the scarlet woman’s grip, but was helpless to escape it. Her long, shapely legs kicked out with all the vigour of their careful conditioning, but it was useless. Her captor just held her tighter, fingers digging into Caitlyn’s naked thighs, pressing her - almost crushing her - against her captor’s chest.
“She just - she just… took me…!” Caitlyn thought, feeling all the more bitterly the bite of the ropes ensnaring her, the pressure of the gag muzzling her. In desperation, she just cried out, hoping that someone might hear her, that someone might come to her aid. “HHHHLLLLP! HHHHHLLLP MMHHHHH!!” she screamed, but most of the force of her voice was absorbed by the sponge, the rest wasted into the cloth. “HHHHHHLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLP! PLLLHHHHSSSS!!”
But nobody heard. Nobody, anyway, that did not laugh.
“Isn’t she pretty?”
“Isn’t she beautiful?”
“Isn’t she ravishing?”
“Isn’t she sweet?” the woman in scarlet added, letting herself enjoy the feeling of Caitlyn’s body in her arms. She was elegant, and slim; smooth, but not delicate, exactly. There was a pleasing substantiality about her, in her limbs, her shoulders, and her firm backside, that wiggled pleasingly against the scarlet woman’s midsection. There was strength in her bound arms, as well as grace; a solidity to her warm thighs, as well as softness. She was not some fae, waifish girl. She was a woman: tall, graceful, and stately. And she had been absolutely, humiliatingly defeated. They possessed her. They owned her. And from the rather adorable crinkle of her eyebrows, the desperation in her impassioned cries, it seemed that she knew it.

The scarlet woman carried Caitlyn, squirming and moaning all the way, to the transport they had waiting. Everywhere Caitlyn looked, she saw bright, hard eyes staring at her. At least staring at her. Caitlyn was a beautiful woman, and she saw how their eyes traced her curves, saw that they all noticed when their scarlet leader lifted Caitlyn’s legs higher, and her skirt slid further up her thighs. When they reached the transport, it was almost a relief.

It was a hover-skiff, propelled by a small, relatively-cheap HexTech generator. It had a cab for about four, and a hold in which maybe five could stand. Too many for all of the Robes. But they seemed to have arranged in advance which would go on the transport and which would go their own way, because some of them seemed to vanish into the encroaching night. Scarlet brought Caitlyn round to the back of the skiff, where an underling opened the hold for her. She hopped in, put Caitlyn down on her feet, turned her around so the two were facing each other - and then pushed Caitlyn in the chest.

“Hmm-mmnnfffmm?!” Caitlyn wobbled, and stumbled, even hopped to try to maintain her balance; but it was a doomed effort. Under Scarlet’s piercing eyes, Caitlyn overbalanced, slipped, and then fell, fell the whole length of her tall, trim body. It seemed to take forever; like a deep-rooted, high elm being cut down in a forest, Caitlyn’s moans like the wood’s creaks as it tumbled, her bondage making her scarce more mobile than the trunk would have been, and her fall just as inevitable.

“UMMFF!” she cried, hitting the metal of the skiff’s hold, the floor so hard and her body so trim and toned that she visibly bounced before finally settling on her back. Scarlet still watched, like her eyes had been pushing Caitlyn down, and were now holding her there. A moment ago Caitlyn had practically towered over her - now, she lay far, far beneath her.

Cyan jumped in, and the hold closed. A dull light flickered on, and Caitlyn saw that Cyan was a woman too. Not tall, but taller than Scarlet. Broader-shouldered, but a fair bit thinner, less muscular. To Caitlyn’s surprise, Cyan slipped off her shawl, revealing her face. She had a heavy tan, but one could tell she was light-skinned underneath it. She also appeared to be blind in her left eye, and had scars on her neck and the bottom of the left side of her jaw. Then Scarlet revealed her face as well; very fair, with long features, and a shock of thick, curly, platinum-blonde hair. Both looked about thirty. They looked down at Caitlyn; smiled - and then they kissed each other.

“Poor Thumper,” Cyan said, stroking Scarlet’s face. “It was only his second day, and she shot him right in the head.” With her shawl off, it was easier to tell that her high-pitched, girlish voice was an affectation; poorly disguising a deeper one.
“Don’t feel bad, my sweet,” Scarlet replied, kissing Cyan’s forehead. “He was just some Zoarn gutter-rat.”
“Oh, I don’t feel bad, darling. But… he was still a Robe. Still a brother.”
“Yes… yes, we’ll add it to the fee. An extra… thirty-thousand?”
“Hmm… no, I don’t think Thumper deserves that. Ten-thousand.”
“You’ve convinced me. Ten-thousand.”
They kissed again. It was intimate enough - they rubbed their hands all over each other - but strangely passionless. It looked like bad play-acting, and Caitlyn almost felt that they intended for it to seem so - for they still looked down at her even when their mouths were locked together.

They broke the kiss, took two steps towards their captive.
“What do you think?” Cyan asked.
“How do you mean?”
“Was it worth it?”
“Losing the contract with Varley?”
“To get her?”
“We’ll see. If the family pays up with no argument.”
“Of course. And a day or two in her company won’t be so bad…”
Cyan knelt by Caitlyn’s legs. She reached out to touch them, but Caitlyn drew her legs back, and kicked at Cyan’s hands. She didn’t kick very vigorously - she couldn’t: it was hard enough bending her legs - but Cyan hissed like she’d been stung by a scorpion.

“Caitlyn,” Cyan said, slowly. Her eyes went wide, and round; her face expressionless, but expressionless in the way that a lizard was expressionless; animally blank.
“Caitlyn,” Scarlet repeated, in exactly the same tone, with exactly the same expression, the two matching each other so perfectly that Caitlyn felt like she was dreaming. “You’re a hostage. Something we caught. Something we’re going to trade for money. Hostages don’t kick.”
“Hostages don’t fight.”
“Hostages don’t do anything except wait meekly to be sold.”
“Hostages don’t give their kidnappers trouble.”
“In fact-”
“In fact-”
“Now hostages,” they said, in perfect unison, “don’t get to think.”

Like whipcords they snapped at her. Cyan behind; Scarlet in front. Cyan took Caitlyn by the shoulders, pushed her up into a sitting position. Scarlet lifted her legs, with vicious strength folding Caitlyn’s calves underneath her, forcing her to kneel. Then she sat in front of her, kneeling astride Caitlyn’s thighs, sitting more or less on Caitlyn’s knees.

“Mph! Mm-mhhhh!!” Caitlyn fought against them, but she was completely pinned. Cyan wasn’t as strong as Scarlet, but she was strong enough to restrain a woman who was as securely bound as Caitlyn was. At no point did their blank expressions change. It was surreal. “Who are these people?” Caitlyn thought. “Are they… are they just putting on an act to frighten me, or are they really as insane as they seem? God knows what they’re going to do to me… I can’t let them take me away! I have to - I have to escape, but - but…!” But she couldn’t. For all her training, for all her skill, Caitlyn was powerless. She was completely at their mercy.

Her face still blank, Scarlet looked Caitlyn up and down. Saw the battle between rage and dismay playing out on her features. Saw the rapid, scarcely controlled breaths, the sweat running down her neck. She saw how, forced to kneel, Caitlyn’s thighs bulged slightly; the ropes, and even her stockings made subtle, but visible, impressions into the substantive softness of her legs.
“Caitlyn,” she said. “Beautiful Caitlyn. I’d laugh at you if I weren’t so angry with you. It was so funny when we caught you with the whips. Seeing you just standing there, letting us tie you up. Seeing you staring at yourself with such pretty eyes.”
“Mh… mmhphh!” Caitlyn didn’t even know what she was trying to say. She just couldn't let this mocking pass without protest. Behind her, she felt Cyan shifting about, but she couldn’t turn her head enough to see what she was doing. She heard a sloshing sound, but didn’t know what it was. Anyway, Scarlet held the majority of her attention.

“I hate this city,” Scarlet said. “I’m only here because there are so many opportunities. I’ll leave the second I think it would be more profitable. I hate your Council. I hate the architecture. I hate that you haven’t just sent in your Enforcers to wipe out the Undercity when they’re obviously a disaster waiting to happen - a disaster that has happened, actually. More than once. But,” she said, “there is one thing I like.” She leaned closer, to the point where Caitlyn thought Scarlet was about to kiss her. She didn’t - but she did put her hand on Caitlyn’s hip. Then she traced the curves of Caitlyn’s body all the way up to her neck. “And that,” she said, turning her palm upwards so that Cyan could put something in it, where Caitlyn couldn’t see, “is the police uniforms.” She moved back a little. She gave Caitlyn a cute little smile. “Do you smell that?” she asked.

The thing Cyan had passed was a thick, white rag. The smell, the sweet smell, the acrid smell, was from the drug that Cyan had soaked it in. The rag covered Caitlyn’s mouth; her nose, her chin and most of her jaw. And for all that she fought, for all her panicked, wide-eyed thrashing, Caitlyn could not get away from it.
“MMM-MHHPHHHH!! NNNHHHHHHMMPHHHH!!” Caitlyn knew exactly what was happening. As a girl she’d read plenty of stories about dashing spies and plucky detectives: so when the fumes invaded her nostrils and her mouth, as the first rush of dizziness and euphoric tingling swept over her, she knew that she was being chloroformed.

In reality, she didn’t know how long she’d have until she was too weak to fight. Seconds? Minutes? All she knew was that that cloying smell kept pumping itself into her, and that tingling kept spreading.

“MPHHH! NN-HMMMPHHHHH!!” Caitlyn cried, fighting harder than she had at any point since she’d been caught, knowing that if she let them do this to her, she might never again have even the slightest opportunity to escape. She twisted herself in every direction her muscles could pull her; she tossed her head back, throwing her hair upward like a midnight-blue mane, making Cyan laugh as the silky, blue strands tickled her face. She tried to force herself off her knees, but Cyan just pulled her back down, and then Scarlet’s thighs just gripped her even more tightly. She kept trying though, bucking against their reins, writhing against them with such sensuous vigour that more than once she did escape their grasp. But it was always in vain. Even outside of their grip there were still the ropes.

Such resistance could not last long. With every second the drug slipped deeper into the fibre of her. Caitlyn’s limbs were getting heavy. Sluggish. When she tried to twist her hips, she seemed hardly to move, and what movement there was was slow. Caitlyn felt her body starting to give in. Her vision was darkening. Every time her head drooped her eyes drooped along with it, and each time it became harder and harder to lift them.
“No…” Caitlyn thought, trying to psych herself up. “No, I can’t… can’t let them do this to me… I have to keep fighting… have to keep trying… keep… keep going… but… oh… oh, I’m so… tired…”

There was another element too. For the entire time that Caitlyn fought, no matter what she did, how she struggled, Scarlet was still there. Still just… staring at her. Her eyes seemed to grow brighter as Caitlyn’s vision became darker, and each time Caitlyn looked straight at them it became more difficult to look away. Not for an instant did the grip of her hand relax either, her fingers and the heel of her palm completely trapping Caitlyn’s jaw, smothering her with chloroform, burying her under wave after wave of weakness.

“Mmhh… mhh-mhh…” Caitlyn mewed. Her body was growing still. Her breaths deeper. Her eyes were only half-open now, their searching sharpness dulled; softened. Her vision was swimming: even looking straight forward she could no longer see Scarlet’s eyes - the one mercy of her growing helplessness. But Scarlet seemed to know that Caitlyn couldn’t see her anymore, because she chose only that moment to lean forward, putting her mouth by Caitlyn’s right ear. In perfect sync, Cyan put hers by Caitlyn’s right ear.

“There,” Scarlet said, her voice hushed. “That’s better isn’t it. That’s how a hostage should behave. That’s much better, beautiful Caitlyn…” Her voice was comfortingly raspy. Slow. It was pleasant. It tickled Caitlyn’s ears.
“No fighting,” Cyan whispered. “No resisting. It’s impossible, isn’t it?” The affectation in her voice was no longer bothersome. It felt smooth, like slightly chilled honey being poured into Caitlyn’s mind. “Beautiful Caitlyn… oh… oh, you’re so sleepy…”

Both of them started stroking her hair, softly caressing the top of her head, then letting the strands flow like water through their fingers.
“Mhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…” Caitlyn sighed, feeling herself swaying with the rhythm of their strokes, caught up in it like a leaf on water. “No… no I can’t… this is… so stupid that I’d… I’d find th-is… relaxing… something as simple as this…” She looked, slowly, from one to the other, feeling how close they were to her; feeling how much control they had over her. She wanted to be angry - she was angry - but she didn’t have the strength for it to matter.

“This should be mortifying, shouldn’t it?” Scarlet said.
“Humiliating, even,” Cyan added. She flicked Caitlyn’s earlobe with her tongue, and was rewarded with a soft, somnolent little trill.
“We’re petting you like a cat. Isn’t it ridiculous?”
“Isn’t it silly?”
“We’re disrespecting you so badly.”
“But you don’t mind.”
“You can’t mind.”
“You’re all foggy… all soft and hazy… so all your body knows is that it’s nice to be touched…”
“So nice…”
“So keep breathing…”
“Keep breathing in the chloroform…”
“And then you can keep enjoying it…”

“Nhmm… nhmhhbhhm…” Caitlyn protested, even now, but she didn’t fight. She did as they said, and breathed slowly, and deeply. She drew in lungful after lungful of sweet, drugged air, obediently sending herself deeper and deeper into sleep. “Why… why can’t I… stop doing… what they say…? Why can’t I… th…think?”

They kept stroking. Kept whispering. Their supple prize floated between them, her head drifting languidly from side to side, her body growing heavy; growing limp.
“There we are,” one of them said, and it no longer mattered which.
“That’s how you should behave.”
“No fighting.”
“No thinking.”
“Just a hostage.”
“A captive.”
“We’ve kidnapped you.”
“You're ours now.”
“You’re all tied up.”
“You’re all sleepy.”
“So perfect.”
“So perfect.”
“Mh… mhhh…?”

Caitlyn just stared forward now, not looking at anything. Not seeing anything. Just kneeling, and breathing, and going deeper and deeper under the spell.
“Sink, Caitlyn. Just sink down. So deep down. So far down… oh, you’re being drugged and it’s so beautiful… seeing your body understand what you are when your mind’s too stubborn… but we’ve got rid of all that. Now sleep…”

The voices lapped at her like water, like warm ocean waves. She couldn’t escape them. She couldn’t get away from them. She knew she would sleep. She knew it was already too late. Everything felt so heavy… so dark…
“I can’t… get away… s…sinking…I’m sinking… but it… but it can’t be… true, I… uh… I can’t…be…th…eir…s…”

It was Caitlyn’s last conscious thought before succumbing completely. With the very last atoms of her resistance, her eyelids flickered, before setting finally closed. Her mind went completely dark, and she fell into a warm, inescapable abyss. Once her captors were sure of it, they laid her down, flat on her back - always being careful with their property. She lay still. The bonds kept her body hemmed in, and a little stiff, but she was otherwise absolutely limp. She was all length, and slimness; tall, neat, and utterly passive, lying obediently where they had laid her; motionless, except for her breathing. Even when the transport started, its judders and bumps did not disturb the stillness of Caitlyn’s sleep.

Cyan watched Caitlyn for a while, leaning her head on Scarlet’s shoulder.
“My love,” she asked.
“Are you sure you don’t want to keep her?”
Scarlet smiled.
“You always say that. But you’re always happier when the money comes in. But don’t worry,” she added, when Cyan pouted. “I’m sure it’ll take a little while to arrange. Until her family pay…” She leaned in, pressed her lips against Cyan’s. “She’ll be our… present. To each other.”

Cyan grinned.
Last edited by Damselbinder 2 months ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by flirty_but_nice »

Amazing! Can’t wait to read more!
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by Damselbinder »

flirty_but_nice wrote: 5 months ago Amazing! Can’t wait to read more!
Oh hey! Thank you! Didn't realize this had got any traction here. Many thanks!
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by DrMabuse »

Yes, this was wonderful. I'd love to read more.
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by Damselbinder »

DrMabuse wrote: 5 months ago Yes, this was wonderful. I'd love to read more.
Very kind! I'll be starting work on the next part (probably the last) this weekend.
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by Damselbinder »

The first sound of which Caitlyn was conscious was a slow, regular creaking, perhaps the sound of floorboards. The first smell she was aware of was a dusty scent, like old, weathered books. The first thing she could feel was pressure against her front, and the first thing she could see was nothing at all.

The discomfort of feeling her eyelashes brushing against fabric helped Caitlyn to realise that she had not gone blind. She had merely been kidnapped, and her abductors had blindfolded her. Could she speak?
No. Gagged as well then. What with? It felt like… foam? Like a thin layer of packing foam, with something stronger and harder outside of it. Maybe leather. Yes - probably leather from the way it felt against her cheeks. She could even feel a buckle nestled somewhere under her hair, just below the base of her skull.

She didn’t need to test if she was bound. Of course she was. But it was different from before. She wasn’t all coiled up like when they’d… caught her. But she was still completely trapped. Her arms were folded behind her, she could feel, parallel to each other, bound rigid across the middle of her back. Her legs were tied at the ankles… no… no it was almost all the way up her calves.

Could she move her arms? Sort of. She couldn’t get them apart, despite the muscle of her biceps and her hard, feminine shoulders. She could move them together, but only up and down, not side to side. Something was stopping her.
Could she move her legs? Kind of. She couldn’t move them separately, despite the strength of her calves and her toned, sleek thighs. She could move them like they were one limb, but not forwards or backwards, just left or right. Something was holding her.

“Mm…mhh?” As the fog lifted, Caitlyn tried her bonds’ strength with more and more of her own. When she pulled, when she flexed her limbs, the leather straps tying her groaned, but did not yield. She couldn’t break them. But she didn’t seem to be guarded, though, so she thought to try at least to move about. Perhaps she would find some sharp object to help her cut her bonds, or at least to slip off her gag and her blindfold. So, she drew herself up, raising her backside into the air, and pushing her knees and chest against the ground. Then, marshalling all her strength, she threw her body forwards.

“MMMPHHH!!” Caitlyn’s effort was rewarded with a hard, painful jolt, straining her limbs, and forcing her back to the ground with a loud, heavy thump. “Whhmphh?!” What had happened? Why hadn’t she moved? Blinded and still dazed, she couldn’t make sense of it at first. But the pain had helped to clear her head a little, and now when she struggled, she heard a quiet clinking off to the left and right, and realised what had happened. She wasn’t just bound: she was anchored.

There was a buckle attached to the straps binding her arms, and another on her legs’. They had been fixed on with hobnails after Caitlyn had been tied up, and then a thick, steel chain passed through each buckle, then fixed to hooks nailed into the wall on either side of the room. As Caitlyn discovered, the chains had been left pretty taut - that was why she couldn’t move her arms or legs side to side, and that was why she couldn’t move forwards.

“Oh god… oh god, I can’t move…!” Fully awake, she felt the full force of what had happened to her; the full force of the situation that she was in. She had been abducted, strapped up, and chained down in some dingy warehouse or abandoned building or something. She didn’t even know how long she’d been asleep. A few hours? A day? Alright, maybe her colleagues would know she was missing when she didn’t show up for work but - no, wait. Not even that. It was Caitlyn’s day off. No-one would even know anything had happened to her yet.

“No-one’s coming for me,” Caitlyn thought, and with that thought she felt her heart thumping against the floorboards underneath her chest; felt her breathing growing more and more rapid. “No… no I can’t think like that - I’ll just… I’ll just have to get free myself!”

At first, Caitlyn was methodical. Her top priority was getting her hands free: that was the most important thing. She tried to use the chains’ tautness to her advantage, relying on the fact that her arms were fixed in place so that she could put all the force possible into pulling her arms laterally away from each other, thinking that she could maybe slip them out of the straps. She engaged the muscles of her back, her shoulders; the subtle, powerful swell of her biceps. She pulled as hard as she could, the leather creaking - groaning - from the force Caitlyn put on it. The chains anchoring her arms went totally straight, quivering as Caitlyn pulled at them.

“Mhhhghh… mhhghhhh… MMGGHHHHH!!” She pulled, and pulled, and continued pulling. Only when the pain in her arms grew truly unbearable did her effort diminish. Eventually, she had to stop, to lie there and pant, waiting for the fire in her muscles to die down. But as soon as her body would allow her, Caitlyn tried again, if anything pulling even harder this time. She pulled until her fingers grew numb, until the fibres of her biceps felt as though they would snap, until her shoulder joints were burning from the fury of Caitlyn’s defiance, the power of her body turned against itself. This time she only stopped when she felt that she was about to do herself a serious injury, but far too soon she tried again. This time her arms simply wouldn’t cooperate, and Caitlyn had to fall still.

“Mnnh… mnnhhh…” It hadn’t been enough. Not only had she failed to escape her bonds, but as far as she could tell she hadn’t even loosened them. She was trapped. She was really trapped. Those awful people had stolen her, made her sleep, and now had her completely in their power. Even unguarded, even just left her to rot, she couldn’t do anything. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t talk. Couldn’t even see.
“Merchandise.” That was what they’d called her. “A belonging. Property. A treasure.” A hostage. Who didn’t get to move, or talk, or see, or even think if they didn’t want her to. And it was Caitlyn who had been reduced to this state. An Enforcer! An expert markswoman and trained hand-to-hand fighter. All worthless. They’d overwhelmed her utterly. Coiled her up in ropes and sent her whimpering off to sleep. Kidnapped - just to get some money for her return. It might have happened to any pretty socialite; anyone from the life that Caitlyn had rejected to serve something greater.

But it had happened to her. And now that it had, she wasn’t like the woman she tried to be: full of the dignity and offended pride of her station. She wasn’t even like Vi would have been: furious, wrathful that anyone would dare to do this to her. She didn’t even particularly want retribution against those who had offended her. She just felt girlish, and frightened, and more than anything wanted someone to save her and carry her off to safety. All she could do was hope. Hope that her colleagues might be able to mount a rescue. Failing that, hope that her parents could afford what was asked for her. Hope too, then, that her captors would honour their word, and release her once she’d been bought back.

No. No, not so easily. She wasn’t just an Enforcer - she had pride that belonged entirely to her. She was a - a sort of warrior, wasn’t she? Not like Vi, but… she fought. She went far above and far beyond the necessities of her profession. She’d dived into the worst darkness the Undercity had to offer, taken on Silco, taken on the corruption of her own city too. No-one was invincible. Anyone could be made helpless with enough effort. But Caitlyn wasn’t there yet. Not if they wanted her meek and mewling they’d have to do a lot better than this.

Caitlyn had no reason to abandon her original plan, and did not at first intend to. But as she started fighting again, as she felt the straps biting into her forearms and her calves, as she felt the chains that held her down tugging, barring, suppressing her, as she felt the vicious frustration of being physically restrained, the sheer anguish of being captured, taken prisoner and held against her will, the indignity - the shame - trussed and - and drugged and chained down - ransomed, how - how could they? How could they?!
“Nmhh... nmhh, nmhh, NHMMHH, NNNHHHMMHHHHH!!!”

It was no longer possible for her to contain herself. With no plan, with no logic, Caitlyn just fought. She shook her hips, strained and twisted the muscles of her back, so toned and so elegant. She kicked with the strength of a warhorse, making her chains slam and thud against their brackets. She rolled her shoulders, flexed and shook her exhausted arms, every moment more tired, every moment more furious.

She bucked, and squirmed, and writhed, and shouted wrathfully into her gag. Her whole body began a chaotic, tumultuous rebellion against her bondage, thoughtless, so that sometimes her pulling in one direction would cancel out another part of her efforts, but she didn’t notice, didn’t even think of anything but fighting. Screaming with effort, her body became like a squall. Her skirt swished about her thighs, her hair flew about her in waves, her face and her chest crimsoned with effort, her arms and her legs and her neck glistening with sweat as she grew hotter, and hotter, crying out, pushing herself, her tall, sinuous frame, against the wood lying beneath her, arching her back, throwing her head left and right, fighting and fighting and fighting and fighting until finally, finally, her struggles were given some small reward. The intensity of her resistance had dislodged her blindfold, and with one final twist its knot came loose, and the fabric fluttered to the ground.

“Mmmhhhhhh…” Without even opening her eyes, Caitlyn let her forehead fall against the floor, let her exhausted body rest. Panting, sweating and quivering, Caitlyn almost wanted to laugh. She was no closer to being free. Of all the aspects of her bondage that she could have overthrown, the blindfold was the least significant. Even if she’d ungagged herself she might have been able more effectively to call for aid. But - fuck it. It was something. And if they’d blindfolded her, that meant that there was something they didn’t want her to see. It was a small victory, but she’d take it.

Caitlyn blinked a few times. The light wasn’t too harsh, so it didn’t take too long for her eyes to adjust. Even looking down, she could see she was in a small room, a little dimming daylight coming in from one window, and one weak lightbulb above her. She could see the shadows of the chains anchoring her to the ground. She looked up at the hooks, to see if her struggles had, perhaps loosened them from their fixtures. She -

They were there. They were all there. Scarlet, Cyan, Silver, Ochre. They were standing about her in a circle, looking down at her. They had been watching her. They had been watching her the entire time.
“I’m dreaming,” Caitlyn thought. “This can’t… they - they can’t have just…!” From one, to the other, to the other, Caitlyn’s eyes darted, wet and quivering, her pupils expanding, drowning the royal blue of her irises in wide, terrified black.

“Wasn’t that noble?”
“Wasn’t that courageous?”
“Look how she fought.”
“How she struggled.”
“How she squirmed.”
“Rolling and thrusting and arching…”
“Such a beautiful struggle.”
“Such a beautiful captive.”
“So strong.”
“So fierce.”
“So helpless.”
“What a lovely show you put on for us.”
“We’re so grateful.”
“What a good hostage.”
“What a sweet hostage.”

Scarlet knelt down. She cupped Caitlyn’s chin, lifted her head to look her in the eye, and Caitlyn did not resist.
“Mh… mhhhnn…” Caitlyn quailed, all but paralyzed. It had all been a joke. It had all been a twisted, cruel joke. She never had any chance of escaping. Even if she’d loosed her bonds they would have stopped her. They’d just stood there, letting her… dance. A pretty girl all tied up and writhing around for them - in a police uniform no less. There were places in Zaun you’d have to pay through your nose to get a show like that. Caitlyn wasn’t particularly exposed - her skirt was riding a little high on her thighs, maybe - but she felt like they’d stripped her naked.

“I’m surprised it took so long for you to free those lovely, blue eyes,” Scarlet said. “I thought I’d knotted your blindfold to come off easily. I mean, you were struggling so… vigorously that I must have tied it too tightly. Or,” she added, shrugging, “maybe you’re just weak.”
As Scarlet had talked, Caitlyn’s attention had been completely captive. She hadn’t noticed Cyan and Ochre unlocking the chains from the brackets on the walls and slipping them from the slots on Caitlyn’s bonds. So it was yet another shock, when two of them grabbed her by the shoulders, and hauled her all the way up to her feet.

“Mm-mn?” They didn’t hold her. They just left her standing in their midst, each about two feet away from her. Caitlyn tried, exactly once, to move, but when she realised how hard it was to balance with her legs bound, she did not try to move again. It was her height that kept her still. It made her feel precarious; fragile. It just meant that she had further to fall.

This was the first time that Caitlyn had seen all four of the Robes’ leaders in good light. Though she stole only nervous glances at them, she got a better idea of who it was that held her prisoner. Silver carried two long, thin swords; Cyan a pistol and dagger; Scarlet a shortsword, with something that was perhaps a whip tucked into her belt. Ochre, the only man among the four, carried no weapon exactly, but wore oversized greaves and armguards. He was carrying something else too, an odd-looking box, but Caitlyn could not guess at its purpose.

“Doesn’t she look nervous?” Ochre said, in an affected, not-quite falsetto. “Silly thing.” He stood back, still toying with the box in his hand. “We must have given her such a fright.”
Silver had managed to get right up to Caitlyn without her noticing, putting her face right against Caitlyn’s ear. When Caitlyn tried to move away, Silver put her arm around her shoulder, held her against her chest. Caitlyn could feel Silver’s armour through her clothes, pushing hard against Caitlyn’s back.
“Poor little hostage…” Silver whispered. “Poor little kitten… And she was trying so hard.” She teased her fingers through Caitlyn’s hair, lightly twisting the long, straight, blue strands before letting them fall again.
“Wasn’t it funny?” Cyan said, in a voice even more affected than Ochre’s. “Watching her wriggle around? Wasn’t it hysterical?”
“Oh yes,” Scarlet said, stepping authoritatively forward, and putting both her hands on Caitlyn’s shoulders. “Sweet Caitlyn gave us such entertainment.” She raised her hands higher, curling her fingers underneath Caitlyn’s hair, her palms lightly pressing into Caitlyn’s cheeks, then passing her thumbs over the high, sharp lines of Caitlyn’s cheekbones.

Scarlet looked deep into Caitlyn’s eyes. Her own eyes were unblinking. Intense, but with all emotion hidden, unsettling, and unquestionably commanding.
“I can feel you blushing,” she said. “Your cheeks are so hot. But I’m not criticising. It means you’re ashamed. Shame is my favourite emotion of all, Caitlyn. It burns away pride. It burns away rebellion. It burns a brand deep into you, and do you know what that brand says?” She leaned in, close enough that her nose almost touched Caitlyn’s. Close enough that Caitlyn thought Scarlet was about to kiss her. But she didn’t. “It says ‘helpless’.” She smiled, nudged Caitlyn’s nose with her own, then shoved her in the chest.

“MMMH - mh?!” The louder cry came as Caitlyn thought she was falling. The smaller one came when she was caught, by Silver.
“Don’t be shy now,” she said. “You entertained us so well before, didn’t you?” She was holding Caitlyn with both arms hooked around the chest, holding her too low for Caitlyn’s feet to get a good purchase on the floor. Caitlyn was so preoccupied with trying to stand up that it took her a second to notice that Silver had taken a full grasp of both of Caitlyn’s firm, high breasts.
“Mh-mhh?!” Caitlyn looked down, checking that what she was feeling was really happening. They had bullied her, mocked her, even touched her before - but this was the first time they had taken such liberties. A new kind of fear entered Caitlyn’s mind, and in anguish she threw her head back, her captor laughing, fingers tightening, Caitlyn’s cotton dress such scant defence against Silver’s probing hands, the pressure going right through the fabric like it wasn’t even there, making such deep impressions into the hidden softness of Caitlyn’s bosoms, Silver’s hands exploiting, seizing - claiming.

But before Caitlyn could even process this indignity, Silver spun her around - twirling her like a dancer - and then pushed her into Cyan’s arms.
“Got you!” she laughed, holding Caitlyn by her midriff against her, then letting her other hand shoot down Caitlyn’s side over the trim contours of her torso, until she reached her left hip, swelling so prettily out from her waist, and hovered there. “I love this uniform,” said Cyan. “There’s just something about bell-bottom skirts, don’t you think?” She curled her fingers into the fabric of Caitlyn’s skirt, tugged it higher, unveiling more of Caitlyn’s skin, taut and silky; more of her thighs, shapely and toned.
“Mhh! Mhh-mhhh!” Caitlyn looked down, watching herself, watching this happen to her like she was seeing it happen in a story. It wasn’t - couldn’t be real. That she would suffer so callous an indignity. When Cyan dared to touch her there, to start stroking Caitlyn’s tall legs with greedy fingers, Caitlyn did truly fight back. She might have been tied, but she was a good deal stronger than Cyan. She wouldn’t have got free, or even unbound herself, but she would have knocked Cyan on her arse and that would have lit a warm fire under her courage. But that victory remained decidedly subjunctive. The flash froze her.

It was so bright that the flash alone was enough to startle Caitlyn, along with a loud, dusty ‘bang’. It startled Cyan too, so both of them stopped still, with Cyan’s hand nine-tenths of the way up Caitlyn’s thigh, and Caitlyn just beginning to pull away. It was an intimate tableau - one now immortalised.

“A camera…!” That was the ‘box’ that Ochre had been holding. A compact-camera, like the ones that Caitlyn had seen employees of the richer newspapers using.
“That’s it. That’s just the look we want,” Ochre said. “I’ve taken two dozen or more of these proof-of-life shots, and it’s when I see a look like that that I remember it’s an art form. It’s that special fear, that quivering shock as you realise that all this isn’t private. That people are going to see. See you taken.”
“See you caught,” Cyan said, and pushed Caitlyn again, back into Silver’s waiting arms.
“See you bound,” Silver added, turning Caitlyn to the side so that the belts wrapped around her arms were visible, just in time for Ochre to take another snap.

“Mh…!” The second flash jolted Caitlyn like an electric shock. “They’ll see…” Her parents. Her colleagues. Her superiors. They’d see her like this. Helpless. Tied up. Muzzled. They’d see the fear in her eyes, see just how much power her captors had over her.

She was pushed again. Scarlet took her this time, and mixed what Cyan and Silver had both done; grasping Caitlyn’s thigh with one hand, and clutching her chest with the other.
“Blush,” Scarlet said. “Blush bright. Bright enough that it’ll show up nicely in the frame. You can’t help it, right? You’re so embarrassed. You’re being touched… being manhandled… and to top it all off we’re taking pictures of you.”
Another. Another with Scarlet’s hands on her breasts and her thighs.
Another, as Scarlet pressed her lips against Caitlyn’s long, graceful neck and kissed her, and Caitlyn shut her eyes in the intensity of her shame. She did blush, just as Scarlet told her. Her cheeks, her neck, her chest, her midriff even, hot blood rising to her skin, burning, branding her beauty with a layer of sensuality that she would have given anything to hide.

Scarlet passed her again, and this time Caitlyn couldn’t even tell who had her. All she knew was that there was another indignity, and another photograph. Then she was passed again, and it happened again. Someone kissed her face; someone pulled her hair; someone stroked her legs; someone licked her cheek; someone lifted her skirt; someone pinched her backside; someone caressed her back; someone grasped her breasts; and at each turn, with each new capture, there was another PMPH!

Heat. Heat all the way through her, all the way up her torso and all the way down her legs. Heat that couldn’t escape, that built up, getting fiercer, stronger, and making Caitlyn weaker. It was a sweltering heat, like a sauna, or a bog. It took control of her breathing, making her pant. It took control of her heart, turning it into a hammer. It took control of her voice, making her moan with such enchanting forlornness that it moved all who heard it to mocking pity.

“They’ll see… they’ll see me like… and - and they’re touching me and I - I can’t… can’t stop them, I - I have to, I - I have to be strong, but… I’m not… I can’t… can’t… oh no - no, no, don’t… !” Thoughts and feelings blurred and melted together, along with sensation and perception. Everything was sinking and darkening and slipping into each other. She couldn’t tell who was touching her, couldn’t tell if they were touching her with their hands or their tongues, couldn’t tell if they were pushing her or if she was just falling, and always happening to land in their embraces. The only definites, the only punctuation in the run-on sentence of her humiliation was the steady PMPH-PMPH-PMPH of Ochre’s camera. She thought again of them all standing there, watching her struggle, laughing silently at her, then throwing her between them like siblings fighting over a new plaything, using, mocking - and - and she couldn’t - couldn’t do anything - couldn’t - fight - could hardly breathe from the shame of it - the humiliation and the… the heat… she… she…

“Oh no.”
“Oh no she’s not.”
“Oh, that’s too sweet.”
“That’s too sweet, Caitlyn.”
“So adorable.”
“Are you going to swoon?”
“Are you going to faint?”

They were right. Oh god, they were right, weren’t they. Her eyelids were fluttering. Her vision was dark. All that coiled strength in her limbs was slipping away. The heat was burning everything out except the shame. She was almost limp, getting tossed about like a rag-doll, her head flopping from one shoulder to the other, legs stumbling clumsily, her hard, toned body getting… soft…

Like everything she was supposed not to be. Like everything she couldn’t afford to be. Like what everyone at the academy had thought she was, what even Vi - at first - had thought she was. A pretty, naive princess, utterly out of her element. They didn’t - they didn’t even have to drug her anymore. She was just… swooning… sinking… so hot and so…
“Nnmmmmhhh…” she sighed. “Nmmhh, hh chhnnhh…” ‘No I can’t’, she’d tried to say, but it was precisely the opposite. It was the one thing she could do.

“Let’s just leave her.”
“Let’s see if it happens.”
“Let’s see if she’ll really faint.”
“Wouldn’t it be perfect?”
“I’ll keep shooting.”
“Yes, do.”
“Keep going until you run out of film.”
“Yes, I will… every second… every second of this must be kept.”

The camera captured every instant of Caitlyn’s fall. It captured the moment that she lost control of her body, and she began to sink. It captured the swaying of her hips, the quivering of her legs. It captured the dark river-flow of her hair as her head fell from one shoulder to the other. It captured her eyes growing blank, then dark, then rolling, rolling up, rolling deep as Caitlyn yielded herself, her irises and pupils half-vanished as she raised them, her eyelids flickering in a rhythm that matched perfectly the shutters of Ochre’s camera. It captured the last moment of consciousness, the last moment of despair as Caitlyn realised that shame itself had been enough to defeat her.

It captured the moment her knees hit the floor.

It captured the moment she flopped softly onto her side.

It captured the moment that she rolled onto her back, and her eyes finally fell shut, and her body finally fell still.

All that Ochre’s camera could not capture that he might have sought to, were the long, soft, sorrowfully somnolent sighs that accompanied Caitlyn’s swoon, and her fall; and the last thought she had, that if someone did rescue her, she hoped it was Vi. If she saw, she wouldn’t be cruel. She was… sweet.

The Robes watched Caitlyn for a little while. Ochre took another snap or two, but didn’t overdo it.
“Did she really just faint?” he asked. “It’s been so long since we had a real swooner.”
“It looked like it,” Silver said. “God that’s cute, isn’t it?”
“So cute,” Cyan said.
“Alas,” Scarlet said. “Not this time.” For all to see, and to a chorus of disappointed moans, she held up a small needle, its tip wet with a potent, fast acting soporific. When Caitlyn had felt someone ‘pinch’ her, that had been Scarlet’s needle. “But, sisters and brother, we can make this our secret, can’t we?”
The others laughed.
“You’re quite right,” Ochre said. “I should never have doubted you.”
“Indeed,” Scarlet replied. “Now be a darling. Get those pictures developed, and give the prettiest one to our courier. Let the Kirammans know their precious girl is still the picture of health.”

Scarlet looked down at her captive. Her face wasn’t quite blank - there was a hint of anguish in the crinkling of her well-maintained eyebrows. She was still warm with the afterglow of her blush. Her arms and her thighs still glistened with sweat. But she lay still nonetheless, tamed and vanquished, all the way down at Scarlet’s feet. But it wasn’t over.

Caitlyn still had further to fall.

There was trouble-a-brewin’ in Zaun. There was always trouble-a-brewin’ in Zaun. Today, that brew had matured into the form of a jumped-up would-be mafioso called Butter Jones. Butter had tried to muscle her way into Zaun as a sort of all-purpose backstreet gambling impresario, with a side-hustle in protection rackets. It was when she’d tried to pull her usual bullshit on Vi’s favourite bar that Vi had made up her mind. She was looking forward to making Butter toast.

When Vi walked up to Saguaro’s, the bar in question, the air was warm. Thick. Since the invention of HexTech™ there had been some letup in the tide of Piltover’s filth, but on that day the stink of poison was especially acrid. Vi could almost see it, hanging over everything like an old man’s breath.

Even the light felt heavy - dull. Zaun’s light always had a greenish tint, but today it was somehow lifeless. Jaundiced. Sickly. But hell if Vi could work out why. Did it really look any different from usual?
“I was gone too long,” she thought, and it was an angry thought. She’d been locked away for half her adolescence, kept away from her city, her people. Her family. Thanks to Caitlyn she’d been able to return; but she still hadn’t got used to being back. She didn’t know the city anymore. Its patterns. Its rhythms. She’d half-forgotten the reality of living in a city so choked with pollution. As awful as prison had been, at least the air had always been breathable. And now she spent so much time topside, so much time with the Enforcers, she never felt like she was really immersing herself in the currents of her home.

That, really, was why she was here. Butter was a nasty piece of work, as far as Vi had been able to gather, but Zaun had worse. If she’d been motivated by philanthropy she could have done a hundred other things that would have been more good to more people. But she wanted to roll in the mud a bit. To get the stench so far up her own nostrils that it was the clean air that would smell weird.

Vi didn’t make an exhibition of herself when she walked in. There were some patrons inside: drinking, eating, occasionally glancing at the door behind the bar, and no-one really noticed Vi enter. There was music blasting out of a record player, some god-awful caterwauling by an alleged rock-band that had become irritatingly popular in the time that Vi had been away. Some people were dancing, and though normally Saguaro’s had a sincere energy and carnality, that evening the vibes were pretty rancid.

The bartender was the only person who actually recognized Vi. He seemed afraid when he saw her. He, too, kept glancing at the door behind the bar and Vi worked out quickly enough what was going on. She reached the bar, gestured to the bartender to give her something hard, and when he came close enough, she pulled him towards her.
“Butter Jones is here, isn’t she?”
“Uh, where, uh, where did you get that idea? Uh, I mean who’s Butter Jones?”
Vi pulled him closer. “She’s back there, isn’t she?”
“What? N-no, Vi, no-one’s back there.”
“Funny,” Vi said, “everybody else in here seems to think something’s going on behind that door. Must be somethin’ real bad to get everybody this nervous. I’d probably better take a look.”
“No, Vi, don’t!”

It was too late. She’d already vaulted the bar, and pushed her way through the door, finding six people inside. Three of them were big, hard-nosed thugs. One of those three was absolutely gigantic, well over seven feet tall and with shoulders almost as wide. Then there was Saguaro himself, the bar’s owner, bloodied and bruised, shivering on the floor in the fetal position. Then there were two others, dressed a bit more expensively. One of them had been talking when Vi came in, and didn’t stop for a few seconds.
“Easy, eh? Sitting there on the floor pissing yourself?” She was short, pretty muscular, and pretty fat. She had a round, bottom-heavy face with a huge, square jaw, and eyes covered with a tiny pair of sunglasses, with circular lenses, clipped directly onto her nose. This was Butter Jones. “You know what’s easier, Saguaro? Just doing what you’re told the first time. Being a good boy. Could have made it so much easier on yourself. Could have - who’s this bitch?”

When Saguaro dared to look up, I won’t try to pretend that he wasn’t hopeful. He knew Vi, or at least her reputation. Vander’s kid; as much on the side of the angels as her old man, at least as good as him in a brawl. He saw the look on her face, that sideways smile, that bloody glittering in her eyes, and he knew perfectly well what she intended. Saguaro knew that someone like her actually had a chance of winning, had a chance of driving Butter off and saving him from being extorted and beaten any further. He also knew - and this is why Vi saw him grimace when he realized it was her - that Vi being here meant that he might not have a bar left when the dust had settled.

“Oh hi!” Vi said, waving cheerily at Butter and her minions. “I’m one of Mr Saguaro’s waitresses. The beer keg just ran dry. We’ve got some more back here, right?”
Butter whipped off her sunglasses, revealing a pair of tiny, green eyes.
“Get out of here!!” she shouted, nearly shrieking. “If you don’t want me to fuck you up like I fucked up your boss you’ll get your pink-ass, punk-ass, butch-ass ass outta here. Now, god-damn it, now!!”
Her biggest goon stepped forward. He folded his arms. He looked down at Vi, and scowled. He was so stony-faced that you could practically hear the muscles in his cheeks grinding.
“Yeah,” he added.
In the huge shadow cast by Butter’s goon, Vi was almost invisible. You could only really see the bright pink of her hair, and the glittering white of her grin.
“Are you the one who beat up Saguaro?” Vi asked.
“I,” he said, folding his arms and smirking, “participated.”
“Good enough for me,” Vi replied.

Did Vi get pleasure from violence? Um…


She got satisfaction from it, anyway. The satisfaction of winning. The satisfaction of a good workout. The satisfaction, even, of seeing the people who deserved it being on the wrong end of a good, solid punch. But what was even more satisfying than that, what gave this particular fight a particularly flavoursome quality even in its opening moments, was seeing the dawning realization on her enemy’s face.

First, just the surprise of realizing that he was being attacked by someone half his size. Next, the shock of realizing that her punch was going to connect long before he could do anything about it. Finally, the impact, and the pain, of Vi’s fist hitting his jaw. He felt a ‘pop’ as a gold crown on one of his back molars snapped off, and the realization played out so clearly on his face that Vi couldn’t help laughing. But it didn’t stop her.

Using the giant’s own shoulders as a crutch, Vi hauled herself up to the level of his eyes, and smashed her forehead as hard as she could into his nose, a nose already much malformed by a hundred other fights. She hadn’t broken it, but she didn’t need to. The point was just to put the giant in as much pain as possible. Maybe he was a skilled fighter; maybe he was just a big, dumb brute - either way, someone that size with that much muscle was a potentially fatal danger to her, and Vi needed to debilitate him, quickly.

As the giant staggered, another of Butter’s goons attacked, swinging a crowbar at Vi. She caught his arm, tripped him, sending him crashing headlong into a brick wall. The third goon was smaller, though, and faster, and he came at Vi from under the giant’s shadow, taking her off-guard. He even managed to catch Vi’s chin with a swift left cross, making her cry out. But the goon mistook anger for pain, and so didn’t expect Vi’s vicious reprisal: a thunderclap of a punch that left Vi’s knuckles stinging, and left her enemy bleeding and unconscious on the floor.

By now, the giant had recovered. Silently, but wrathfully, he bore down on Vi, reaching for her with both hands. He was clumsy, but he wasn’t slow, and when Vi skipped out of the way of his first attack, he lunged forward, crashing into her with his shoulder. It was a glancing blow, but it was enough to send Vi spinning, almost knocking her off her feet. Scenting weakness, the giant grabbed her, seizing her by the throat, and lifting her into the air.
“GHHKKHH!” Vi’s feet pedalled uselessly a full foot off the ground, the giant’s immense strength not only cutting off her air, but getting frighteningly close to crushing her windpipe altogether. Spots appeared in front of her eyes. Her extremities tingled. She was in serious danger of passing out.
“You are going,” the giant said, “to… rue.”
One might not necessarily know what sort of reaction a person would expect from such a remark, but whatever the giant was expecting, that wasn’t what he got. Vi was smiling, and she was smiling in a way that the giant wasn’t sure that he liked. What he was sure that he didn’t like was the fact that Vi had taken the crowbar from his comrade. He definitely didn’t like it when she lifted it above her head, using one of the giant’s own forearms as a brace, and then brought it down with full force on the top of his skull.

The giant fell to his knees, still holding onto consciousness. He was still holding onto Vi’s throat as well, but she untangled his fingers from her easily enough.
“You know,” Vi said, rubbing her neck, “I can get behind a lot of freaky shit, but, uh… choking? Not my thing.”
“That’s fair,” the giant said, and collapsed.

Only Butter, and the woman who appeared to be her adjutant, were left.
“What the fuck is this?” Butter shouted. “What the fuck was that?! What the fuck am I paying you people for?!”
“Aw, don’t be mean to your goons,” Vi said. “If it weren’t for them I’d have been kicking the shit out of you.”
The shriek that issued forth from throat of Butter probably was intended to be a sentence, but by the time it reached Vi’s ears it was pretty much just ‘EENNGHHH’. She reached clumsily for a pistol, but before she’d cleared leather she was struck in the head by a well-aimed crowbar.

To Butter’s credit, she did not go down as quickly as her name would have implied. With a cracked eye socket, and with blood streaking down her face, she managed to stagger forward a step or two.
“I’m… I’m gonna…” Butter stuttered, but whatever it was she was ‘gonna’ do, she didn’t get the chance to explain it. Not before Vi darted forward like a rabbit, and gave Butter a backhand slap of such force that it would have acquitted itself perfectly honourably as another shot from the crowbar.

Only now did Butter’s adjutant intervene. Throwing back her hood, she leapt into Vi’s path and struck her hard in the jaw, stunning her.
Well. The striking in the jaw isn’t what did the stunning. Vi had been taking harder blows than that on the chin since she was twelve. What stunned Vi was what she’d seen when Butter’s adjutant had taken off her hood. She revealed a face which was, down to the smallest, finest detail, exactly the same as that of her boss. They were twin sisters, obviously, but even taking that into account her resemblance was frighteningly exact. Vi couldn’t believe it wasn’t Butter.

But uncanny resemblance or no, she was an enemy. The moment’s hesitation passed, and Vi was all brutality again. Not-Butter tried to follow up, but Vi slipped past her attack like a river, and then crushed her like a waterfall, driving her right elbow, backed up by her left arm, right into the twin’s face, crushing her nose and leaving her bloodied, and senseless.

Her jaw hurt. Her neck hurt. Her fists hurt. But none of it was too bad. Vi had done worse to herself against practice dummies, and her knuckles stung with the satisfaction of applying rubbing alcohol to a wound. She liked the feeling of it, and she liked the sight of her enemies lying conquered at her feet. She hadn’t beaten them entirely to satisfy herself: she’d done it to help Saguaro. But when she offered Saguaro her hand to help him up, she saw that he was frightened of her. He still thanked her, and he meant it - but when she patted him on the shoulder to comfort him, he flinched.

Eh. Vi was reading too much into it. The poor guy had been intimidated, threatened, and beaten. Of course he was jumpy. It probably didn’t have anything to do with Vi at all. But the idea that she frightened Saguaro stuck in her mind. It reminded her of something, but she couldn’t immediately think what. It was uncomfortable. But, hey. Probably didn’t matter too much.

One by one, Vi dumped Butter and her gang through Saguaro’s’ back door. The giant took a bit of doing, but Vi never frowned at a good workout. And by the time she got him out, Butter had recovered some of her wits, so Vi didn’t need to wait around for her.
“Uhh…” she groaned, only just becoming cognizant of the full extent of her injuries. “What the - ahh!”
Vi was standing astride her, crouching, flexing and unflexing her right fist.
“Okay, Butter,” Vi said. “I’m gonna break it down for you. Anytime you or your cronies try this protection racket shit again, I do this to you again. Say someone you beat up loses a tooth? You all lose a tooth. Someone loses a finger? You all lose a finger. Someone dies?” Vi put her face as close to Butter’s as good taste would allow. “And I’ll let you guess.”

She stood up, pointed at the twin.
“That’s your sister, right?”
Butter nodded.
“Then you have a family. Don’t fuck that up.”

There were cheers when Vi walked back into Saguaro’s, but they were a little muted. In the time since Vi had leapfrogged over the bar, some of the patrons had worked out that the pugilist with pink hair and a coarse, fierce swagger was Vi, or - to most - “Vander’s kid”. A lot of people in Zaun had good things to say about her, but nobody trusted her completely. I mean, worked with the Enforcers. Who the hell knew where her loyalties lay?

Vi didn’t give a shit. And I don’t mean she aggressively protested that she didn’t give a shit to disguise the fact that she really did give a shit. She really and truly didn’t care if people thought she was a traitor. She knew what she was doing, she knew why she was doing it, and she was perfectly satisfied that it was right. Not moral, necessarily - it might or might not have been - but right. Powder had to be found, and… dealt with. That was all there was to it.

So when she heard heavy footsteps behind her, and a rough voice asking if she was who she appeared to be, Vi didn’t feel bad for having incurred some drunk’s displeasure. It was just annoying.
“Alright, jackass,” she said. She pushed herself out of her seat, turned around, and got herself ready for another punch-up. She’d probably take a few more licks this time: she didn’t feel her heart was in this one.

But when she turned around, she didn’t find another victim, or someone out to make a victim of her. It was, by his dress, a Piltoverian, wearing a cloak over his well-kept garments to make himself a little less conspicuous.
“Excuse me,” the young man said. “Forgive me for troubling you, but you are Vi, aren’t you?”
“That’s right.” Vi tried to seem friendly. This fellow was clearly out of his element, and he seemed nervous of Vi too. “What can I do for you?”
The man took down his hood and, much to her surprise, Vi recognised him. His name was Mike or Mark or something, and if Vi remembered rightly he worked in some capacity for Caitlyn’s mother.
“I work for Councillor Kiramman,” he said. “My employer needs to speak with you.”
“Why?” Vi stood up. “What’s going on?”
“I can’t say here. Please come with me, miss, it’s extremely urgent.”
There weren’t many reasons that this man would seek her out. All of the possibilities were bad. Vi saw the fear in this man’s eyes, and realized that he was not afraid for himself.
“Has -” Vi’s voice caught in her throat. She had to start again. “Has something happened to Caitlyn?”
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by Damselbinder »

Vi had to look at the photograph twice. The first time, when she had seen that it really was Caitlyn, that she was bound, that a strange woman was touching Caitlyn’s thighs, that Caitlyn was obviously frightened and anguished, Vi hadn’t managed more than a glance. But she forced herself to look again, like she was inspecting a wound. She absorbed much useful detail: the kind of building Caitlyn was confined in; the distinctive manner of dress of her captor; the fact that Caitlyn appeared unhurt. But she couldn’t help absorbing other things too: the roughness with which Caitlyn’s thighs were being gripped; the distress and shame in Caitlyn’s features; what looked like faint lipstick marks on Caitlyn’s face. The fact that it reminded Vi of another time that she had seen Caitlyn gagged, heard her cool, measured voice reduced to nonsense and seen a muzzle marring the beauty of her sharp and stately features - and mad laughter ringing all about her.

As Vi studied the photograph, Tobias Kiramman studied her. He was a vigorous man, in his fifties, but he could have easily passed for forty. Vi had met him once before, very briefly, but it had been enough that she saw now the change in him. His hair had lost most of the blue he’d shared with his daughter, fading almost entirely to grey. His eyes, too, seemed grey.

“Have you noticed anything important?” Tobias asked. His tone had that quivering dullness of a man in a state of profound shock, and even when Vi lifted her head and looked him straight in the eye, she had the impression that he didn’t see all of her.
“Yeah, I think so.” Vi spoke soberly, and quietly; perfectly aware that she was in shock as well. “I don’t know where she is exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s in Piltover. The light looks too… clean to be Zaun. I could be wrong, though.”
“Do you know who’s taken her?”
Vi put the photograph down, thought for a moment. “I’m not sure. I’m only just getting back into the loop as far as underworld shit goes. But… I think I heard something about a group who dressed all fancy, like that woman in the picture. Out of towners, from Demacia or something.”
“Were they professional kidnappers, to your knowledge?”
“That and a bunch of other stuff.” Vi pressed her memory as hard as she could, but all she was going on was a half-heard conversation that Vander had been having with… God, Vi didn’t even remember that anymore. Could she really be any help here?

“Look, Mr Kiramman, you really need to contact the Enforcers. They might know all about the people who took Caitlyn. They’ve even got people trained specifically to deal with this kind of shit: hostage negotiation and stuff.”
“I can’t do that,” Tobias said.
“Why? If Caitlyn’s told you anything about me you know I don’t have much love for the pigs, but unless you’ve got your own private army stashed away somewhere they’re your only fucking option.”

Tobias did not know Vi, so he did not appreciate the effort it had taken for her to say this, the injury it had done to Vi’s pride to suggest surrendering the fate of her friend to an organisation that, save for Caitlyn, she roundly detested. When he spoke, therefore, it was not in a manner as conciliatory as it ought to have been.
“I imagine Caitlyn told you that my wife and I objected to her choice of profession. I think Caitlyn still believes that was because of snobbery; that we thought it wasn’t worthy of a person of her station. But she was wrong. That was never why I objected. I objected because the Enforcers are bullies, cheats and murderers. My daughter; she’s very… moral. I didn’t want them corrupting her.” He thumped his hand against the nearest wall, a hard, brick surface that completely absorbed the violence of the blow, and made very little sound. Tobias was left with a smarting hand and tears in his eyes, but the expression of his rage and fear was left seeming a little pathetic. “I don’t trust the Enforcers. Not with Caitlyn’s life. If their incompetence doesn’t get her killed, then their corruption will. I am asking for your help, Vi, because I know that she trusts you, completely, and I know that the two of you mean a great deal to each other.”

Vi thought for a moment.
“Do you have the money they’re asking for?”
“Then get it.”
“But what if –”
“What if they’re planning a double-cross?” Vi looked Tobias in the eye, and this time he did see her. He saw a fire in her of such intensity that it made him flinch. “If they’re planning a double-cross, they are not going to profit from it.”

Only two shadows fell now on Caitlyn’s slumbering body. Ochre and Silver had been dismissed, and she was alone again with Scarlet and Cyan. For a little while they watched her. Then they knelt by her.
“Poor thing,” Cyan cooed. “Doesn’t she look sweet?”
“So sweet,” Scarlet answered. She put the back of her hand on Caitlyn’s cheek, stroked it. “How well-behaved she’s been for us. Such an admirable hostage.”
“Do we really have to give her up?”
“Oh come now, Cyan. Nothing can last forever. But,” Scarlet added, “that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy her company while it lasts…”
“Shall we make her more comfortable?”
“Yes. Yes, I think she deserves that, at least.”

Cyan turned Caitlyn onto her front, falling from her side with a little ‘thump’, her cheek coming to rest on the floor. Her hair fell in front of her face, mostly obscuring it. The weight of her body pinched her clothes underneath her. It made her dress tighten across her shoulders, and her back. It made her skirt tighten across her thighs and her backside. There was nothing in this accentuation that did her the slightest insult. But accentuating Caitlyn wasn’t enough for Scarlet, or Cyan: they needed to unveil her.

They unbound Caitlyn’s legs. Easily, with no sense of haste, they freed them, Caitlyn’s boots creaking as the pressure of the straps was released. Yet even when they had done this, Caitlyn’s legs remained straight, remained pressed together as if they still expected to be bound, only slightly and gingerly coming apart from each other after a second or two. Then, Scarlet and Cyan each took one of Caitlyn’s boots, swiftly but methodically unbuckling them. In sync, they slid the boots off; in sync they revealed the contours of Caitlyn’s slim and supple calves, the fabric of her frilled, white stockings; in sync they turned to each other and smiled, laughed, and kissed.

They took from Caitlyn everything hard. Everything that might cause her, or them, the slightest discomfort. They unbuckled the belt and leather ammo bag from her midsection, slipping it out from underneath her. They unfastened the bracers from her shoulder blades, the pauldrons that were her badge of office, letting them fall with a pretty clatter onto the floor. They unbound her arms, then lifted them - shapely, whip-strong, and limp - and unfastened her gloves: first the stiff leather, then the fabric underneath, baring Caitlyn’s forearms, her skilful hands. They even unbuckled the small collar Caitlyn wore at her neck, pulling away her cravat; exposing Caitlyn’s throat.

Cyan turned Caitlyn onto her back. Caitlyn’s arms flopped over; one lying across her midriff, one falling against the ground, the hard bones of her wrist banging against the wooden floor.
“Careful!” Scarlet chided. “Don’t be so rough with her. I know she looks strong - but really she’s a fragile little thing.” She took Caitlyn’s outstretched hand, intertwined her fingers with Caitlyn’s. “You can feel it in her palms. They seem as rough as you’d expect of a riflewoman… but it’s like a layer of paint. No more than that.”

Scarlet knelt behind Caitlyn, her captive’s head right by her knees. With the manner less like a ruthless criminal, and more like a proud governess setting table, she took Caitlyn into her embrace. The fallen riflewoman’s tall body was drawn up into Scarlet’s arms, her head dipping back slightly against Scarlet’s left shoulder. Slowly, Scarlet moved her hands down over Caitlyn’s body, her fingers spreading out like fans - or like legs extending from the body of a spider. She spread these hands over Caitlyn’s chest, let it push against her palms. Her fingers curled around Caitlyn’s breasts: large, feminine, and firm from the fitness of the muscle around them. Even through Caitlyn’s dress Scarlet could feel their consistency; their warmth; their fullness pushing gently into her hands with each breath.

Scarlet let both hands go down both of Caitlyn’s arms, her fingertips pushing deeply into Caitlyn’s skin, before catching her wrists and lifting them up, Caitlyn’s body utterly compliant to Scarlet’s whims. She held one of Caitlyn’s hands against her cheek, like Caitlyn was stroking her.
“Oh…” Scarlet sighed. “I can hear her heartbeat… feel her wrist pulsing… such a pretty rhythm.”
“Such a pretty girl,” Cyan assented. She had no desire to take Caitlyn from Scarlet. She took just as much pleasure in watching her paramour play as in playing herself.

Scarlet let Caitlyn’s arms fall to her sides, flopping clumsily and asymmetrically against the floor. Her head was tipped back a little, bending over the fulcrum of Scarlet’s left shoulder, her neck arching. Scarlet put her right index finger at the divot at the base of Caitlyn’s neck, and moved it up, her fingernail right against Caitlyn’s skin, pushing just lightly enough not to scratch. As her hand went further and further up, she added more of her fingers, until her entire hand was curled around Caitlyn’s throat. She was not choking Caitlyn - not even close - but the point was to excite Cyan by showing that she could.

She left one hand at Caitlyn’s neck, and moved the other to just under her right ear. With exacting pleasure and gradual, deliberate precision, she traced the path of Caitlyn’s jaw; the strong, sharp line that gave so much dignity and character to her features. Then over her cheekbones: high, sharp: like cut glass. So even unconscious, Caitlyn did not look pathetic. Hers was not a beauty that simpered or cowered. Scarlet noticed this, even admired it to a degree. But it was still just something to be exploited.

Scarlet brought her fingers to the elegant point of Caitlyn’s chin, tugged her mouth very slightly open. She tilted Caitlyn’s head further back, then bent down as if to kiss her. But she didn’t kiss her. She just caught Caitlyn’s lower lip lightly between her teeth, then released it, laughing to herself, and prompting crueller laughter from Cyan.
“You’re such a tease! She’d be going as red as a strawberry if she were awake.”
Hm. It was rather a shame that she wasn’t awake, now that Scarlet thought about it. She liked having Caitlyn all limp and knocked out, liked being able to do whatever she liked and for the Enforcer to be completely unresisting… but if she could have that and have Caitlyn be aware of it, then that would be perfect. Perhaps there was some glimmer of consciousness left… it was worth checking.

Very carefully, with her thumb and forefinger, Scarlet peeled back Caitlyn’s eyelids, with all the precision of a sniper. But Caitlyn was so deeply asleep that her eyes were rolled back about as far as they would go, her irises almost entirely concealed.
“Oh, she’s just out, isn’t she?” Cyan laughed. “Switched off like a light!”
Cyan’s enjoyment was some compensation. To entertain her further, Scarlet shifted Caitlyn a little further up her body, so that her upper spine arched back over Scarlet’s shoulder, the tips of her deep-blue hair brushing against the floor, her head falling backwards to present the white vulnerability of her throat to her captor’s mercy.

Scarlet reached down to Caitlyn’s knees, drew them inwards against Caitlyn’s body. Her skirt slipped a little way up her thighs, its fabric crumpling as it fell back. Scarlet tucked a hand under Caitlyn’s right thigh about three quarters of the way from her knees to her hips. First it was just her palm; then she closed her digits one by one until they were making visible impressions in Caitlyn’s skin. Not relaxing her grip, she moved her hand up and down the length of Caitlyn’s thigh, massaging her fair skin, the trim muscle underneath. Running her hand as far down Caitlyn’s right leg as she could - barely past her knee, since Caitlyn’s legs were far longer than Scarlet’s arms - she lifted Caitlyn’s leg, showing off to Cyan the length and strong, feminine shapeliness of it, the tension in the fibres of her muscles, as finely-tuned as the strings of a cello.

And then, simply by withdrawing her hand, Scarlet let all that tension go. Caitlyn’s leg flopped down over the other, neatly crossing, Caitlyn forced to mock herself with a parody of her feminine elegance. After it fell, her calf bounced limply for a couple of seconds, before her body returned to complete, somnolent stillness.
“That’s better, isn’t it? More demure.”
“Mm-hm. She’s such a delicate thing. Why I’m sure she’d swoon for real if we didn’t let her keep a little of her modesty.”
“You’re absolutely right. In fact, I think we’ve been just awful to her, haven’t we? Locking her up and strapping her down in this ugly little closet.”
“Agreed. Let’s be more hospitable.”

Scarlet stood up, taking Caitlyn up with her. She was taller and heavier than Scarlet, so it took some doing. Caitlyn’s body stumbled, slipped, her head falling from side, her helplessness displayed as obviously and as mockingly as possible as she performed a limp little dance in Scarlet’s arms. Scarlet held her by the shoulders, letting Caitlyn’s chin drop to her chest. Her head bowed, Caitlyn’s hair partly veiled her face, and since Scarlet was holding her on her feet, it wasn’t difficult for the imagination to suppose that Caitlyn was bowing in shame.

Cyan skipped up to them, embraced lover and captive together, putting her arms around both of their waists, pushing her hips against Caitlyn, rubbing her leg against Caitlyn, pressing her chest against Caitlyn - and kissing Scarlet, with Caitlyn drugged and limp between them.
“Mhhh…” Cyan squeezed harder, kissed harder, feeling Caitlyn stiffening between them from the pressure of her captors’ bodies. “Scarlet…” Cyan said, pulling away.
“Let’s take her to the bedroom…”

The drop off location was in Piltover’s lower west side; not all that far away from where Caitlyn had been abducted in the first place. It was a perennially neglected part of the city, and this neglect had become an important component of Piltover’s moral defences. “How dare you accuse us of oppressing Zaun?” went the general refrain. “Why, we can’t even look after our own citizens!”

Neither of the two servants of the Kiramman household had ever been to the lower west side. It wasn’t respectable. Gentry and aristocrats like Tobias and his family could afford to be seen in such places. Anyone would assume that they were there for philanthropic or generally respectable reasons, for their position in society was so high and so firm that there was no question of its being revoked by something so unimportant as association with the underclasses. But for someone in the middle-classes, respectability was something that could be lost by speaking to the wrong person in the wrong tone of voice. It wasn’t done to go to the lower west side. Certainly not if you were clinging to the bottom edge of Piltover’s prosperity.

This extreme social unease made everything else worse. It mixed poisonously with the servants’ real fear for Miss Caitlyn’s safety, and their fear for their own safety if this drop off turned out to be a double-cross. Being there in the middle of the night didn’t help matters either. Every shadow, every alleyway down which they could not see, every half-open door frame - all of them were voids; threatening portals from which deadly peril could spring at any moment. So, by the time the two servants actually reached the agreed spot, they had been driven to such distraction that the person they had agreed to meet being in the place they had agreed to meet him at the time that they had agreed made both servants yelp like puppies.

He was not one of the core members of the Robes; his garment was simple grey, but he wore it ostentatiously, swept over his shoulders, displaying the heavy pistol he wore at his belt. He was tall, though not especially; broad, though not especially; but these meagre attributes made him swell in the imaginations of the two servants until all physical danger appeared to be summed up in him and only him. He was standing half-emerged from a warped and degraded doorway, and the part of him that was still in darkness seemed hardly even to exist.
“Do you have it?” he called out. His voice was relatively deep, but there was a nasal quality that made it painful to listen to.
“Where is Miss Kiramman?” the braver of the two servants asked.
“Safe. Being very well taken care of. Very well,” he added. “So, hand over the money. Now.”
The more cowardly servant was also the larger servant, so he’d been carrying the money in a massive, leather trunk. It was a huge portion of the Kirammans’ fortune, and even though it was in the highest-value notes that the Piltover treasury printed, it weighed a lot. Gingerly, he stepped as close as he dared to the Robe, and put the money down.
“It’s all th-there,” he stammered, and ran back behind the imagined safety of his companion.

For a moment, the Robe did not stir. He’d emerged just far enough for the servants to see his eyes, and both were instantly conscious of the malice in them. If it had served his ends, he’d have killed them both, and he’d have worn a smile doing it. When he did take the money, he moved slowly, easily, as though he had all the time in the world. Casually, he popped open the case, and spent an agonising three minutes methodically counting Tobias’ money.
“Alright,” he said. “That’ll do for now.” He closed the suitcase, picked it up, and turned around.
“Hey! So - so where’s Miss Kiramann? You’ve got your money - so - so aren’t you going to give her back?”
“Oh yeah, that.” The Robe didn’t quite turn all the way back. “Your mistress - well she’s just having such a lot of fun with us. And we think it’d be kind of mean to make her leave when she’s enjoying our hospitality so much. So she’ll come home when she’s good and ready. Savvy?”
“You rotten-!”
“What did you think? That there were rules we had to follow? That we owed you anything? Rules only exist if you can enforce them! Debts only exist if you can make your debtors pay you! We took your mistress because we wanted her and because she was too weak to stop us kidnapping her! You’ll give us money because you’re too weak to do anything else! You’re not paying for her life. You’re paying for the possibility of her life.” He smirked. “Keep an ear out. We’ll let you know how good your odds are.”
He vanished. His cruelty had whipped up the braver servant to such a fury that, despite their companion’s entreaty, they chased after the Robe, but lost him almost instantly.
“Wh-what do we do now?” the other servant mumbled, helplessly. “What do we tell Mister Kiramman? After everything that’s happened - now this as well… it’s too cruel!”

The Robe - a man named Gil - was close enough that he could still hear this exhortation, and he had to fight with himself not to laugh at it. Normally the Robes would not have been so vindictive, just because it was counterproductive to get a reputation for not honouring ransoms. But since their business prospects in Piltover had dwindled more or less to nothing, they were soon to seek greener pastures. Their reputation here no longer mattered. Since this was so, there was little to be gained from returning Caitlyn promptly. In fact, though Gil wasn’t very high on the corporate ladder, he understood that his masters were very taken with Caitlyn. They weren’t sure that they were going to return her at all.

Gil’s self-satisfaction did not make him incompetent. As he moved through the darkness of Piltover’s streets, in an area far too poor and obscure to have benefited from the HexTechTM revolution, he took a deliberately circuitous route, to evade any theoretical pursuers. He was perfectly satisfied with the necessity of this practice, but on this particular night he couldn’t help feeling that he was wasting his time. He did his due diligence, but only because his masters had a habit of shooting underlings that got this kind of thing wrong. In fact, he was so confident in his ability to evade pursuit that he didn’t realise he’d been pursued even when his pursuer caught up with him.

Gil had turned down a street that sort of gave up on being a street halfway through, the paving disintegrating into dirt and gravel as it went on. For those in the know, it was one of the quickest ways of getting into Zaun from that part of Piltover, and Gil had intended to go to the under-city to fool anyone chasing him. If it had been an Enforcer after him, they’d probably never have known what he was trying to do; but the woman chasing him knew the paths between Piltover and Zaun a hell of a lot better than Gil did.

She was wearing a thick, heavy cloak over the rest of her clothes. Cheap. Hardly more than plain burlap. Most of her face was hooded, but Gil could see her mouth. Could see it curled into a furious, hateful scowl.
“Drop the bag.”

Gil stopped. He glanced about him - up on the roofs, over his shoulder - but saw no-one else. Who was this? Had she followed him from the drop-off? Was she working for the Kirammans? Or was this just happening because Gil was walking through a shitty part of Piltover and this woman thought he was a mark? Either way it was an irritating complication. Gil hated complications. There was no doubt in his mind that this person was no match for him in a fight, but he’d been in enough fights to know there was always an element of randomness. Gil hated randomness too.
“Drop the fucking bag,” the interloper repeated. “I won’t ask again.”
“No,” Gil replied. “You won’t.” With the speed of a cat, he drew his gun and fired.

Unluckily for Gil, while he had the speed of a cat, he had accuracy rather more like that of a turkey, and he missed his target by several inches. He’d also tried to shoot from the hip, which hadn’t helped matters. Had it been Caitlyn there trying to help Vi, rather than vice versa, she would have been mortified by Gil’s poor marksmanship. Given that it was, in fact, Vi, she simply took advantage of not having been shot, and sprang forward like an arrow. Gil didn’t get the chance to fire again before Vi was on him.

It so happened that, just before the first blow, a shaft of moonlight fell on their dismal alley. It so happened, also, that at the same moment Vi’s hood fell back a little way because of how fast she was running. That these two things happened simultaneously meant that, for a fraction of a second, Gil actually got a pretty good look at Vi’s face. He saw that she was very beautiful, in almost all the ways that their hostage wasn’t. He saw that her grey eyes were full of fury, that her face was contorted so tightly that it looked like she was trying to hold back an explosion. He wouldn’t have been able to verbalise it, but he saw Vi for just long enough to get the impression that she was in all likelihood the single most dangerous person he had ever seen. The force of the blow she gave him did nothing to disabuse him of this impression.

He lost a tooth, but gained two fractures in his jaw in exchange. All thought of counterattack fled from his mind at once. He was so stunned by the first strike that it was like being paralyzed. It didn’t even hurt; not immediately, anyway. That one blow was probably enough to incapacitate him, but Vi was taking no chances. Removing even those few restraints that she put on her violence, she gave him a matching blow on the other side of his face so hard that she could hear bone snapping. When this failed to make him fall down as quickly as she’d have liked, she swept his legs from under him, sending him crashing against the unkempt pavement.

“Ugh…hh!” was the first thing Gil said, and his effort to speak made him conscious of the agony on both sides of his jaw. He looked up with quivering eyes, saw a flash of pink under Vi’s hood; a flash of red under her cloak; more red on her knuckles - a mix of her blood and his. He was so frightened and so shocked that he nearly forgot himself, nearly held out the case to her so that she’d just leave him alone. But his superiors, he remembered, would do far worse to him, so he pulled the case to his chest, protectively. It never even occurred to him to reach for his gun again.

Vi did notice the gun, and before doing anything else, she took it from him, emptying its cartridge and slotting it into her belt. She looked down at the man she’d bloodied; saw that he was frightened of her. She allowed this to give her pleasure and, throwing back her hood, she allowed this to become visible on her face.
“I want you to understand something,” she said. “If you’d kept your word, this wouldn’t be happening. If your boss had just handed Caitlyn over, taken the money, and called it a day, I wouldn’t be doing this. But you got greedy.”

But it occurred to Vi as she was saying this that it wasn’t true. That even if Caitlyn had been returned safely, she would still have been doing exactly what she was doing. She shivered with fury, a ripple of it shooting uglily through her. It was because she had remembered the photographs. It was because they hadn’t just abducted Caitlyn. They had touched her. So, convulsing with rage, she lifted her foot, and stamped down on Gil’s chest. Again, and again, and again.

He didn’t scream as two of his ribs snapped. He didn’t scream as his right lung began filling with blood. He just wheezed, and prayed for it would stop. When it did stop, he didn’t decide to surrender the case. It just slipped from his hands, automatically.
“No no no,” Vi said, dropping to her knees, straddling him, pulling back her cloak and putting her face right up to Gil’s. “I don’t want the money. I don’t give a shit about whether Tobias Kiramman can afford to have a swimming pool installed in his fucking mansion or not. I want to know where Caitlyn is. And I want to know now.”

At his first refusal, Vi broke his nose. At his second refusal, she broke one of his fingers. At his third refusal, Vi grabbed his already broken jaw with both hands, and simply squeezed, squeezed until the only thing stopping Gil from telling her everything was the fact that Vi was holding his mouth shut.

Soon, all was confessed. Vi found a railing, dragged Gil to it, and tied his arms to it so that he wouldn’t warn anyone. The money troubled her for a moment. She wasn’t tempted to take it, but she was halfway tempted to destroy it. She knew that the Kirammans had acquired their fortune relatively ethically, but that ‘relatively’ was a big word. They were still part of Piltover’s upper crust, and no part of that crust was blameless. But then, no-one was blameless. Certainly not Vi.

She didn’t exactly care that she had enjoyed torturing that little bastard for information. He was guilty, and he was responsible for hurting her friend, so his pain was just. But whenever she hit someone, and they looked afraid, she couldn’t help thinking about her sister. Her sweet little sister who had gone out of her mind and turned into something hideous.

Obviously Vi blamed herself: that was nothing new. Her fault for letting her fall into Silco’s clutches. Her fault for reacting in the worst way at the worst time to a catastrophic, but innocent, mistake. Her fault for not saying the right thing when Powder had given her a chance to speak at last. That was nothing new. What was new, as she reflected on the joy she’d felt at seeing that man’s blood spurt from his face beneath her fists, was the thought that it might not be a question of ‘fault’ at all. That Powder had turned into what she had because they were sisters, and because the same evil was in both of them - just in a different colour. Vi wasn’t stupid: she knew perfectly well that if things had happened differently they would not now be where they were. But they were both poisoned. They were both… bad.

Caitlyn wasn’t bad, though. Caitlyn was… well. Vi wasn’t sure she really had the language for what she thought that Caitlyn was. She needed Vi’s help. For the moment, that was enough.
A full list of my stories can be found here, with summaries to boot: viewtopic.php?f=70&t=32027
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane)

Post by Damselbinder »

“...up. Wake up, Caitlyn.”
“H… ah…!”
An acrid smell, like ammonia, was shooting up Caitlyn’s nostrils. At once, she knew it was the scent of smelling salts, even though she had never even seen smelling salts before. It was simply that she’d read a lot of novels, and in more old fashioned novels delicate society ladies were being roused with smelling salts on a constant basis.

“That’s right, I… I fainted, didn’t I? I actually… fainted…” Because of this thought, when Caitlyn’s eyes fluttered open she was already blushing. When she saw that Scarlet and Cyan sitting on either side of her, that all three of them were lying on a bed together, she almost fainted for real.

“Poor little thing,” Cyan cooed. “Don’t try to move. You’re still weak.” She touched Caitlyn’s face, and though Caitlyn recoiled, it didn’t occur to her until Cyan’s hand was gone that she could do more than that. She wasn’t tied up anymore. But when she tried to sit up, Scarlet just pushed her back down, and Caitlyn fell back, panting, into a set of thick, pink cushions.
“Didn’t you hear me?” Cyan said. “You shouldn’t move yet.” She laughed. “Can you believe she really fainted?”
“I know,” Scarlet replied. “It’s so darling, isn’t it?”
“So don’t worry, Caitlyn.”
“We’ll take care of you.”
“We’ll look after you.”
“After all, you’re so delicate.”
“So fragile.”
“So don’t worry.”
“Don’t worry.”

Caitlyn tried to shake through some of the fog, but it still hung heavily on her mind, on her limbs. She had never fainted before, so she didn’t know if this was normal, but it seemed strange. Her mother had fainted a couple of times, and she was normally back to herself pretty quickly afterwards. But maybe they were right. Maybe Caitlyn was just fragile.

Cyan moved to the foot of the bed, put her hands on Caitlyn’s knees.
“H-hey!” Caitlyn protested, trying to sit up again. But Scarlet stopped her again too, this time putting her arm around Caitlyn’s waist and holding her.
“Don’t struggle, sweetness. We’re just making you more comfortable…”
“Plus,” Cyan added, “why would you want to hide this gorgeous skin of yours?” She had curled her fingers around the edges of Caitlyn’s off-white stockings and, at the same time, had started peeling them away.

Dismayed, Caitlyn had to watch as Cyan stripped her long, long legs, exposing her finespun skin; her gently pale tone; the athletic elegance of her musculature. Her thighs were soft; her calves were sleek; her feet well-shaped. As the moments went by, and Caitlyn saw more and more of herself exposed, her vigour returned more and more as well. But by the time she had enough strength and enough presence of mind to start struggling, Cyan was already finished and as Caitlyn tried, clumsily, to kick her, she slipped laughing out of the way. Caitlyn was so bleary still, and so she didn’t notice what Scarlet was doing.
“Don’t you… touch me!” Caitlyn cried out, not paying attention to Scarlet slipping her fingers around the collar of her dress. “Trying to intimidate me… trying to make me feel pathetic… - but this - doing this, undressing me… you’re showing what you are. Th…thugs… just thugs - just greedy burglars… nothing more… more special or impressive than that…”

Since they had confronted her in that alley, Caitlyn had not been able to resist her captors meaningfully in the slightest. Even killing one of them had not shaken Scarlet and her troupe. They had stolen her, and done exactly as they liked with her. Since the moment those bolo whips had wrapped around her body, Caitlyn had been absolutely powerless. And as Cyan heard Caitlyn’s accusations, she had no reason to suspect that anything had changed. But Cyan was still standing near the foot of the bed, so Caitlyn had managed to catch her eyes as she spoke. And when Caitlyn caught Cyan’s eyes, Cyan could not take them back again. There was judgement in Caitlyn’s eyes, and judgement that was inescapably righteous. Most people weren’t really righteous when they thought that’s what they were being. Or at least they were too much of something else. But Caitlyn was a profoundly, and effortfully moral woman. It made her powerful, and to someone like Cyan it made her frightening.

Hard to say that it would have made any real difference to Caitlyn’s situation, but it might have altered the colour of it a little. Had it not been for the seam that Scarlet had cut right the way down the centre line of Caitlyn’s dress while she’d been asleep, not tearing right the way through the fabric, but weakening it. Weakening it enough that, when Scarlet put her hands around Caitlyn’s collar and pulled as hard as she could in opposite directions, the dress tore apart like tissue paper.

Caitlyn gasped, but she gasped violently - like a scream going inwards. She just stared. It was like a nightmare, or at least like a magician’s trick. She’d been clothed one second and now she just - but wait, what - what was that? She’d been wearing a simple cotton vest and a sturdy brassiere under her dress but - now… now…!
“Do you like it?” Scarlet whispered. “I just bought it. I was going to give it to Cyan but… we both agreed it suits you better.”

It was a negligée. Velvety; black; soft. Extremely low cut, hanging onto Caitlyn’s shoulders by two flimsy straps. It scarcely covered Caitlyn’s bust at all, and its hem barely reached her thighs. It was translucent around her midriff, shamelessly displaying the flawless conditioning of her abdominal muscles; the trim shapeliness of her hips and her waist. It was mortifying seeing herself in such skimpy clothes in front of her abductors, but that wasn’t anywhere near the worst of it. While she was asleep, they had undressed her, taken off her undershirt, and then stuffed her in this nightdress - and then put her uniform back on. All to do this. All to shock and humiliate her at a moment of their choosing. They could have just stripped her completely and had their way with her while she was unconscious, but they hadn’t. Touching her, feeling her, didn’t matter to these people as much as… undoing her.

“What was that you were saying?” Cyan crowed. “All those unpleasant things you said about us, when we’ve been so hospitable. Given you that pretty little dress, too. Such a bad attitude, Caitlyn; and you’ve been such a good hostage up to now.”
“Do you think she needs an attitude adjustment?” Scarlet asked.
“I’m afraid I think she does.”
“Well… alright then,” Scarlet sighed, and pressed a wet, white cloth over Caitlyn’s mouth.

“NNNMMMMMMPHHHHH!!” The cloth muffled and stifled her almost completely. In its thick, heavy layers her voice was drowned away, the bottom half of her face completely covered. Fibres from the cloth tickled her nose and her lips, leaving a sharp, sweet smell; and Caitlyn knew it instantly. “Ch…chloroform! No… no they’re going to… put me to sleep again… no! No, I won’t let them!”
But Scarlet’s arms were strong, and even though this time Caitlyn was unbound, she’d still been woozy even before the rag had covered her face. Caitlyn was strong herself, and it wasn’t outlandish to think she might have been able to overpower Scarlet - but there was Cyan too.

With manic glee, Cyan leapt onto the bed, and seized Caitlyn’s wrists, yanking them away from where they could give any trouble, closing both arms around them, and pressing them against her chest.
“NMMHHH!! NMMMHHHHHHH!!” Caitlyn fought with all the strength she’d been able to claw back, pulling and squirming against her abductors, feeling their bodies hard and strong and grasping against hers, hearing their laughter echo as they restrained her, as they forced her again to sink. Her legs - long, smooth and naked - kicked out wildly and furiously, slipping and brushing against each other with a squirming, coltish sensuality. But with Scarlet behind her, and Cyan practically straddling her waist, her kicks were useless.

For a moment, Caitlyn’s body was as hard as marble, every well-conditioned muscle in her tensing as she strained against her abductors, as she tried with such valiant desperation to escape them. But she couldn’t keep it up. Sheer muscular exhaustion, and the endless pump-pump-pumping of the chloroform into her body with every panicked breath, drawing her down into slowness… weakness… and making all of that hardness melt away. Her arms relaxed, slackening in Cyan’s grip. Her shoulders relaxed, sinking, the straps of her negligée now only barely clinging on to them. Her legs relaxed, sliding softly against each other. Her eyes relaxed, their lids flickering, fluttering, fading.
“I can’t… fight them…” she thought. “I’m trying… I swear… I swear, I’m trying! They’re just… I… oh god, I’m going to… pass out… again…”

But she didn’t. Even though Scarlet’s fingers pressed the cloth so hard over Caitlyn’s mouth that it was a wonder she could breathe; even though its stultifying and narcotising fumes seeped deep, deep into Caitlyn’s body; even though when Cyan let go of her wrists Caitlyn’s hands just flopped onto her stomach.
“Don’t worry, darling,” Scarlet whispered, “I diluted it a fair bit this time. We don’t want you to go all the way out.”
“We just want you to drift.”
“We just want you to float.”
“We just want you to be weak.”
“Soft,” Scarlet finished, hitting the last ‘t’ with vicious satisfaction, close enough to Caitlyn’s ear that it made her jump. She and Cyan were close together now, and as they spoke, as they taunted her, they pulled her attention from one side to the other. So when Cyan passed something to Scarlet, Caitlyn wasn’t able to look in time to see what it was. Only when she felt something tight across her mouth, felt a tug behind her head, did she realise. In the host of her humiliations it wasn’t a very large one, but there was an intimacy to it that she couldn’t help blushing at. They’d tied the drugged rag to Caitlyn’s face with one of her own stockings.

“Aumphh… mhh… mhhbbhhmm…” Caitlyn mumbled, her eyes and her tongue heavy, her limbs clumsy, weak. Her captors moved away, perching on the side of the bed, leaving Caitlyn just to lie there, breathing in more and more of the fumes; keeping her soft; keeping her helpless. A steady rhythm of ripples washed through her like waves, like pulses, the drug slipping in deeper and deeper, deep enough to hold her on the very edge of wakefulness, but never quite spilling over.

For a couple of minutes, Cyan and Scarlet just watched her. Watched her softly wriggling. Watched her hands, drained of all their skill, batting feebly at the cloth tied to her face; her slender fingers not even able to grasp the edges of the stocking tying it in place. They watched Caitlyn’s legs writhing - sinuously; sensually - against each other; her knees rising as she tried to draw her legs up, then falling as her limbs’ length overcame her and gravity drew them back down, making her calves and her feet stumble against the bedsheets. They watched her eyes fluttering, slipping back and forth between totally unfocused sleepiness and drowsy, but cognisant, wakefulness.

Sometimes Caitlyn’s head would roll, almost like she was trying to work an ache out of her neck, but it was only because her strength kept waxing and waning, and as soon as she gathered the force to raise her head, she’d become to weak to keep it raised, and it would fall back, then against her shoulder, then drop so her chin was against her chest, and so on and so on in a pretty, limp loop; her long, blue hair swishing over her shoulders, her chest, her face - sometimes concealing, sometimes slipping aside to reveal Caitlyn’s sharp, intelligent, beautiful features. Sometimes Caitlyn seemed to stiffen, her neck going tight, her eyes rolling back in her head like she was about to succumb completely. But then, quivering, her eyes would move down again, and Caitlyn would fall back against the pillows behind her, panting, her breasts pushing up and falling back with slow, heavy passion. She mewed softly; she blushed brightly; she shifted helplessly; and when she was able to have cogent thoughts at all, she wondered whether it would be worse to pass out, or worse to remain awake.

Having watched her for a time, Caitlyn’s kidnappers slipped next to her again. They lay on either side of her, pressing her, pushing her shoulders inward, pushing her legs against each other. It made Caitlyn look smaller. Weaker.
“There,” Scarlet said. “That’s much better. This is how pretty, rich girls should be when they’re abducted. Sweet.”
“Tame. Oh, and we have tamed you, haven’t we?” Scarlet stroked Caitlyn’s hair, petting her whimpering captive like a favoured pet. “Remember how angry you were before? Barking orders at us. Pointing a gun at us.”
“Shooting at us!”
“That’s right! It’s like you actually thought you were dangerous. But now you see how ridiculous that is, don’t you? Don’t you?” she repeated, turning Caitlyn’s face towards her.
“Mh… mhhmh?” Caitlyn was not agreeing, but she wasn’t dissenting either.

“You know, Scarlet,” Cyan said, “I know she’s all drugged up now, but… she was an Enforcer. I suppose we’d better take some precautions.”
Scarlet sighed.
“Yes… yes, I suppose we’d better. Now, Caitlyn,” she said, making her hostage look at her again, “I don’t want you getting any funny ideas. No-one here is afraid of anything you might do. But we’re professionals. Pleasure, sure - but business first.”
Caitlyn didn’t understand at first. Scarlet happened to brush the drugged cloth with her fingers as she spoke, so Caitlyn thought that the chloroform was the ‘precaution’. But they were talking like it was something they were going to do. That she also heard a clinking sound, and something like a latch opening, the drug prevented her from connecting to what Scarlet was saying. That is, until she felt someone - Cyan, she supposed - taking her wrists, lifting them, holding them loosely together. Caitlyn turned her head to see what Cyan was doing. She looked round just in time to see Cyan slipping a pair of thick, steel handcuffs over Caitlyn’s slim, white wrists, snapping them shut, and locking them tight.

“Mh…! Mhhhh!”
She couldn’t look away. Even when Cyan let go of her, Caitlyn held her arms up like they were frozen, staring at her bound hands in helpless disbelief, her eyes wet, wide, and full of innocent, helpless anguish. They were her own handcuffs, and her abductors had shackled her with them. They’d stolen her, drugged her, put her in a skimpy little nightdress, and now used an emblem of her station to bind her - to shame her.
“Mphh… mhh-mhh…!” Caitlyn whimpered, tugging weakly against the cuffs, the three-inch chain clinking lightly, but many, many times too strong for Caitlyn to have the slightest hope of breaking. It was totally unnecessary, and devastatingly effective.

Cyan sidled up to Caitlyn, taking her position opposite Scarlet again. She teased the strap of Caitlyn’s nightdress right to the edge of her shoulder, but Caitlyn didn’t look at her. She still looked straight forward at her bound hands, still feebly wrestling with them.
“Wasn’t that a little obvious, Cyan?”
“Using her handcuffs against her. Surely she’d see right through such an obvious psychological ploy.”
“Oh but it has to be, doesn’t it?” Cyan toyed with a few strands of Caitlyn’s hair, teasing them between her fingers. “Our poor hostage is so dizzy… and groggy… and dazed… we have to make things obvious.”
“You’re so right,” Scarlet replied. She lowered herself a little, so her head was level with Caitlyn’s, put her hand on Caitlyn’s hip, tracing one finger up towards her waist, and back down again. She brushed her nose against Caitlyn’s shoulder, then her neck, put her lips right by Caitlyn’s ear. “Hmm… don’t you look perfect like that,” she sighed, deliberately adding a rough, husky texture to her whisper, feeling Caitlyn shiver at the feeling of her voice. “You know I wonder how many people have seen you on patrol… on guard duty… even your colleagues in the stationhouse seeing you in that cute little uniform… I wonder how many have fantasised about slapping those cuffs on you and dragging you away… catching a pretty, leggy policewoman all for themselves…”
“I know I would have.”
“I know I would have.”
“Who could resist?”
“I can’t believe no-one’s stolen you before.”
“I can’t believe no-one’s bound you.”
“Cuffed you.”
“Taken you.”
“Drugged you.”
“I mean it was so easy.”
“So easy.”
“So fun…”
They smiled, and laughed, and joyfully clasped hands. They looked into each other’s eyes with whatever twisted cousin of ‘love’ they felt for each other. They looked down at Caitlyn, and felt a rush of power at seeing her laid so low. And then, with one last glance, they started touching her.

They started with her arms. In perfect symmetry Scarlet and Cyan rubbed their palms across Caitlyn’s shoulders, then slid them up the subtle swell of her biceps, the leanness of her forearms. They took her hands, kissed them, even kissing the cuffs that bound them. Then they let them fall into Caitlyn’s lap, their captive no longer possessing the strength to raise them. After this, Cyan twisted herself behind Caitlyn, wrapping her legs around Caitlyn’s waist, and squishing the Enforcer against her body. Then she closed her hands like pincers over Caitlyn’s slim, strong shoulders, before letting them slide down to Caitlyn’s breasts, and curling her fingers beneath them.

“Mhh…mhhhhhhhmmm…” Caitlyn threw her head back, trying to wriggle away from Cyan’s hands, but only succeeding in pushing herself harder against her body. She felt her captor’s hands completely encompassing the fulsome heaviness of her bosoms, squeezing, grasping, working them like clay, probing and stimulating, massaging deeply and artlessly. “Mhhh… mhhbbbhhmm… nnnnmhhh…” Caitlyn moaned, feeling the soft, stretchy fabric of her negligée being tugged across her buds, tickling them, raising them to a sharp, sensitive point, totally visible through the thin, black covering that lay across them. She felt like there were two wires directly connecting them to her face: whenever Cyan’s thumbs moved across them, she felt electricity in her chest, and fire in her cheeks. With each of these pulses, a ripple shot through her, making her back and her neck arch; and since the straps of the negligée had fallen from Caitlyn’s shoulders these ripples constantly threatened to expose her.

Perhaps Caitlyn would have been able to resist, to force down or force aside this captive eroticism - but there was Scarlet, too. She had taken Caitlyn’s tall, naked legs, and laid them across her lap; and like a skilled musician she drew her fingers over them, playing Caitlyn’s body like a cello. Acres of skin were exposed, silky, fine, and smooth, and Scarlet seemed to know just where to apply the pressure of her fingertips on it to make Caitlyn quiver. Sometimes she would go lightly; stroking the tops of Caitlyn’s feet, or the undersides of her calves. At other times she would be sweeping; drawing her hands the whole, formidable length of Caitlyn’s legs, caressing them with a heavy, almost cloying gentleness: an equivalent in the language of sensuality to putting too much honey in warm milk.

And then, sometimes, Scarlet would just indulge; grasping and roughly fondling Caitlyn’s thighs, always making sure to keep at least a finger on her inner thighs, pressing hard, making Caitlyn squirm all the harder, moan all the louder, making her skin glisten with sweat, making her press her thighs together, meaning to close off, to restrain the sensations that Scarlet was forcing on her, but through the pressure of her thighs only magnifying them; Caitlyn’s legs oscillating between sleepy writhing and bowstring-tautness.

Caitlyn couldn’t keep track of everything that was happening with her senses so jumbled, so hazy, so she didn’t notice the exact moment when they started kissing her. But before she knew it, that was what was happening. Kisses all over her neck, her bare shoulders, her breasts. Kisses all over her calves, the backs of her knees, her thighs; her right leg crossed over her left so that Scarlet could reach her hips and her backside more easily, then leaving a thick hailstorm of kisses there too. For each, Caitlyn could not help but let out another moan, for each Caitlyn could not help but quiver. Her body was betraying her, being so responsive to these cutthroat villains: every soft sigh, every blush in her cheeks, her throat, her bosom, every one a surrender. “I’m… I’m lost…” was all that Caitlyn could even think.

This experience, this weakness, this cloud of heavy, cloying vapour keeping her so sleepy and so… meek… it was like a dream. Or - or it made everything else seem like a dream. Being an Enforcer. Being dangerous. Being formidable. It wasn’t just that the Robes had made her weak. It was as thought they’d made it so every time she’d been strong wasn’t… true anymore. It had happened, but… somewhere else, to someone else. The Caitlyn who lay here, handcuffed and gagged, in a nightdress, sighing and writhing and batting her eyelashes as the women who’d stolen her fondled and kissed her, capturing and exploiting her beauty - that couldn’t be the same Caitlyn who could put a bullet in a man’s head without blinking, who could defy her superiors and her very government in the name of justice, and of friendship. It couldn’t be her, now. It couldn’t be that Caitlyn, the Caitlyn that Caitlyn had built herself into with effort, sacrifice and virtue. Such a Caitlyn could not be half-naked, quivering and blushing. Could not be what Scarlet and Cyan had wanted: a meek, obedient damsel-in-distress for them to sell like produce. Would not have been captured in the first place, or at least would not have frozen so girlishly when she’d been ensnared in all those yards of twisting, heavy ropes that had snatched away her freedom. The Caitlyn that was here, now, this Caitlyn was just… just…
“A hostage…”

How… how had they got there? They were on either side of her again. Their legs were rubbing against hers… leather against her skin, hard and rough against her thighs, her long legs so hot and so smooth… . Their hands were on her breasts, toying with them, pushing them against each other, working them, taking greedy handfuls of them, as if they held Caitlyn’s sensuality itself in their hands, and moulded it, and her, like putty. They were speaking… no, one of them was speaking… Scarlet whispering to her… it sounded like the sea… like rolling waves… . She’d have a lovely voice if she wasn’t such an evil person. What was she saying? Why was it making Caitlyn look down? Why was it making her so ashamed to look Scarlet in the eye? She was… she was complimenting Caitlyn’s skin - saying she had pretty legs… silky hair… calling her beautiful. Why was there shame in that? They - oh - oh they were kissing her… kissing her face… her neck - ah… oh didn’t they know she was s-sensitive… there? And - oh! Four hands on her chest… touching - groping her and - oh god, her breasts had - had completely spilled out of that flimsy little nightdress and they were touching her all over but - but they - oh no there were only two hands now… but then where were the other two? Where -



Oh no, that was - that was too - too much she… she wanted to tell them to stop… because she was shivering too much and blushing too hotly… burning… good burning but - no, it was bad and she was - unh… her toes were - pointing and her back was getting all tense - everything so tight and hot but - why couldn’t she get them off? Why couldn’t she say anything? Wait… the… the gag… her stocking and the thing underneath it… and that was why… she couldn’t get them to… stop she was… so sleepy… someone… someone help, someone… stop them - they’re being so cruel… so cruel and Caitlyn’s body didn’t understand - that’s why she - that’s why she - that’s why she… she - she - oh… oh that’s why she was screaming…!

Wait. No she wasn’t. That wasn’t her voice. And it wasn’t that sort of scream. Why - why couldn’t Caitlyn feel the hands anymore? It was good that they’d stopped but - but - Scarlet was yelling at. No. Not at her.

Wake up. Caitlyn, wake up, this is important.

Yelling at… Cyan? Had Cyan done something wrong? They were… lovers, right? But Scarlet was still in charge, at least she acted like she was… yes… Caitlyn had noticed that. Had to think now. This was important. Had to pay attention to the details. Was it because of something Caitlyn had done, or that Cyan had done? Had she gone too far? Had she taken advantage in a way that Scarlet wanted to reserve for herself?

Come on. Keep trying. Keep thinking - keep trying to cut though the… the heavy… heavy fog… soft and… and sweet and - no! Listen. Listen! It was… a… third voice? Yes… maybe Ochre? A man’s voice, anyway. Caitlyn couldn’t hear what he was saying but… yeah, Cyan and Scarlet weren’t happy about it. Was… was it about the money? Could be - maybe her father couldn’t pay. Or - or wouldn’t pay? Yes! Yes, father, tell them to go fuck themselves! You don’t cooperate with people like this, it’ll just mean they’ll do it again to someone else. Show them they won’t be tolerated. Oh, how she loved her father. Not just for this… she’d love him even if he had paid, because of course one would want to… no.

No it wasn’t about the money. Not directly, anyway.
Caitlyn heard that distinctly. ‘How’ what?
“... just one…! Should be dead…!”
‘Just one’ what? That scream - had it been a scream of pain? Was someone hurt?

How? How had someone found them, maybe?
Just one… . Just one person, perhaps? One person had found them? Someone who’d hurt one of her captors enough to make them scream? Someone like…


No, it couldn’t be.
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Re: Caitlyn Kiramman: Ransomed (Arcane) - Now Complete!

Post by Damselbinder »

There was not, this time, to be any fucking around. The fucking around had already happened. The Robes had been the ones doing it. The time, now, was very much for finding out. And it was the Robes who were doing the finding out too. What they were finding out was that it was probably not the best idea to abduct a close friend - the closest friend, in fact - of a very strong, very angry woman who was very very good at hitting people. A very strong, very angry woman who was very good at hitting people, moreover, who owned a pair of huge, HexTechTM mining gauntlets.

There had been one guard at the door, doing a pretty decent job of not looking like he was a guard. But too good: he hadn’t noticed Vi leaping down from the first floor window of the building next to the Robes’ hideout, and all but shattering him. Being truthful, she had intended to kill him, and was concerned that her blow hadn’t done what she’d meant it to. It wasn’t the end of the world, though. After flying through the air for a couple of seconds, he’d kindly opened a window for her.

Vi leapt in, boots crunching in broken glass. She liked that sound. She looked around, realizing that these were some pretty decent digs for a criminal hideout. Either it was lying fallow and they’d just moved in, or those motherfuckers had actually managed to acquire some decent real estate in Piltover, where property prices were about as fair as everything else. Bastards!

“Hey! Who the hell are you?!”
Oh, how many times Vi had heard those words! When she was a kid most of all. Busting into places she didn’t belong. Grabbing a few jewels, a few shiny knick-knacks, and scarpering with all speed. Yelling at Mylo to stop panicking. Yelling at Claggor to get him to panic maybe a little more. Grabbing Powder’s hand and pulling her along. She was a pain, sure; she caused them trouble, sure; but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, when Vi grabbed her and ran with her, and Powder didn’t do something or say something that even back then had made Vi a little… worried about what was going on inside her head, when she just clasped Vi’s hand tight and depended on her… yeah. Even when there were people screaming at them, or cops chasing them, oreven the one or two times people had actually started shooting at them - when Powder put her hand in Vi’s and let her big sister just take care of her - that was the best. That was the absolute best.

But she didn’t have that anymore. That had been taken away from her. Or… or she had let it go, or Powder had - whatever. It was gone. But she had… she had Caitlyn now. And she wasn’t going to lose that.

She hit the one who’d yelled in the face. Okay that worked a bit better. There he went. Oh boy she’d keep the Piltover Dentistry Association in business for the next ten years with all the brutalising she did to people’s teeth. Next one. Bigger. Much bigger. Yeah! Yeah, c’mon you chunky motherfucker, make this a good one!

He had a pair of knuckledusters. It was easy for Vi to be cavalier considering how much more impressive hers were than his, but if he cracked her with those it’d be very, very bad news. She had to be fast. She had to be smart. But not hesitant. She rushed in, like a hyper-accelerated version of someone serpentining, almost faster than the hulk’s eyes could follow. He was wide open at the midsection, so Vi struck. Her gauntlet collided with his stomach, and along with the raw power of Vi’s muscle, the HexTechTM in her gauntlet let off a burst of energy, knocking her foe flat on his ass.

Wait. What?

“Ughh…!” He was winded. He was hurt. He struggled to get back to his feet. But he did get back to his feet. That shouldn’t have been possible. Vi had hit him hard enough to turn his kidneys into jam. She backed off a couple of steps, wondering if he knew something she didn’t. Turned out he did, until Vi looked at the spot she’d struck. She’d torn through his clothes, but not all the way to his gut. He was wearing armour. And from the way it glowed, Vi guessed that if she had to describe the type of armour it was, she’d need to append ‘™’ at the end of it.

She’d lost the element of surprise. Four more had run in, and now that Vi was thinking to look for it, she could see that they all wore that armour under their clothes. Two had knives. One had a full-on sword. Another held a duelling pistol.
“Who the hell is that?!” This woman looked different from the others, in indigo robes. “Serge! Why isn’t she dead yet?!” Evidently ‘Serge’ was the big guy.
“She will be,” he growled, and put up his dukes again. This guy wasn’t like that chunk working for Butter Jones. He knew how to fight. He was dangerous. His buddies looked plenty dangerous too. But Vi wasn’t afraid. She wanted them to be dangerous. She wanted to have a reason to hurt them.

With a blood-curdling yell, she launched herself forwards, and she made a damn good show of making it look like she was going for Serge. But she ducked under his punch, and instead of using her feint to attack him again, she just slipped past him, going right for the man with the pistol. He got off three shots: one missed outright; one pinged off one of Vi’s gauntlets; but the third gouged a bloody channel in Vi’s right cheek, right in the spot her tattoo was on the other side. Enough to hurt, badly - but nowhere near enough to stop her. She not only smacked the gun out of the man’s hand, but crushed his hand, and left him to curl up on the floor.

But as she turned on the others, she didn’t turn fast enough. The one with the sword was already in mid-swing, and though Vi stopped her from doing what she intended - cutting off Vi’s hand - she still left her with a nasty slash on the arm. Vi cried out, and the swordswoman took another shot at her. But she mistook pain for vulnerability. The second slash didn’t connect: Vi seized the sword by the blade, her hand more than sufficiently protected. The swordswoman tried to pull it loose, but gauntlets or no gauntlets, Vi was a hell of a lot stronger.
“Knife? I get. Gun? I get. But a sword? Like… fuck you, y’know?” She triggered a pulse from her gauntlet, snapping the blade, and then jamming it right through its owner’s right thigh.

As the swordswoman screamed, and collapsed, the others came upon her at once. She ducked a knife, but Serge stepped in, actually managed to grab one of Vi’s arms. As they wrestled, the one in indigo tried to stab Vi in the stomach. Vi was having exactly none of that shit, and rolled Serge over her hip, barreling both him and Indigo over. But the first guy with the knife still managed to get her, stabbing her just underneath her right breast. It wasn’t a deep wound, but it hurt. When Vi hit back, she hit the guy in the jaw with the full power of her gauntlet. She damn-near took his head off. She did snap his neck.

Serge didn’t get another chance. He got up just in time to see Vi coming, but not enough to do anything about it. Bellowing, she cracked him right across the face with a left cross, breaking his jaw. She didn’t trigger another pulse, so Serge got to keep his head. But he’d be blind in one eye for a long-ass time.

Indigo got up, though, and she looked almost as furious as Vi.
“I see what this is. You’re some mercenary the Kirammans hired to get their daughter back! Those idiots! We might have given her back if he’d kept paying us. Now? Oh no no, now there’s no chance of that. You’re dead, and the girl? She’ll be sold off far, far away from here, and she’ll never see her–”
“Have you touched her?”
“Personally. I saw the pictures, so - have you touched her?”
“Why do you care?”
“Ohoho, you are really gonna want to answer that question or I am going to assume that the answer is yes.”
“Alright fine, no, I didn’t. What’s it to you?”
“To me? Oh, nothing. But it just saved your life.”
“Wh -” Indigo began, but Vi was already on her after the second phoneme. She knew full well that Indigo had the same armour on as the others, but she still hit her in the stomach. She just hit harder this time. The armour protected Indigo from being killed - but she still collapsed, wheezing and sputtering, to the ground.

Four broken. One dead. A few cuts in exchange. That wound in her chest wasn’t nice. Wouldn’t kill her anytime soon, but it’d probably be a good idea to get it disinfected. Not a big problem. Catch your breath. Catch your breath, Vi. But don’t stop. She’s still here. You have to hurry. You really have to fucking hurry. Ignore the blood. Turn around. Keep going. Keep going!

She was almost pleased when she heard the panicked footsteps. The fight was coming to her. That was simpler, anyway. She wasn’t facing them, but her instincts told her that there was a knife coming her way. She turned, and blocked it with one of her gauntlets, but it didn’t bounce off, but wedged into one of the seam-lines. Harmless enough. Vi turned on the newcomers and-

The knife wasn’t just a knife. She didn’t know if it was a HexTechTM weapon, but it was something. Something had popped out of the hilt, and activated a high-voltage current that tore through Vi’s body, and completely destroyed the inner workings of the gauntlet it was sticking out of. Vi’s muscles were spasming almost completely out of her control, but with a scream of effort, she forced her hand to relax, and slipped it from the gauntlet, sending it and the knife to the floor with a hard, solid ‘clang’.
“Uh… hhnn… hnn…” Vi wasn’t in great shape. Her right arm was burned. Her neck and some of her right side too. Her other arm felt weird. She was shivering. She’d stayed on her feet, but only just. And now, as she raised her eyes, she saw what she faced.

Ten of them. Some in grey, some in colours. Ochre, Cyan, Scarlet, Green. All armed. All wearing armour. All in perfect shape. Against just Vi.
“You are not going to die in battle,” Scarlet called out. “So whatever dreams you have of a heroic last stand, forget them now. We are going to capture you. But you won’t be a hostage. You won’t get the treatment we gave to Miss Kiramman.” At the mention of the name, Scarlet saw Vi quiver, and very stupidly thought it was fear. “You are just going to be tortured to death, and then your mutilated body will be very, very publicly displayed, because that is what happens to any who cross us.”
Vi said something. None of the Robes heard it, except Ochre, who’d only sort-of heard it.
“What was that about a sack?” Ochre laughed.
“Back,” Vi corrected. “I said back. I said - give - Caitlyn - BACK!”

Vi saw Scarlet quiver, and very rightly thought it was fear.


It was a strange sensation, to be so groggy, so somnolent, and yet to feel such a sense of urgency. To try to marshall yourself, cell by cell, against the force of chemistry that worked against you. Everything in Caitlyn said give up, but she couldn’t let herself do that. She barely knew what was happening. She’d breathed in so much chloroform that it was hard to tell where she was. But she had the thought in her mind, now, that Vi was down there fighting, fighting for her, and onto that thought she locked like a limpet onto the hull of a ship.

First, she had to get that cloth off her mouth. Without Cyan and Scarlet there, mocking and touching her, she did not feel quite so… feeble. But it was still hard. At times her hands felt like they were floating away from her like clouds; at times they were as solid and as heavy as concrete blocks. She couldn’t do it all at once. It had to be in stages. First, she bent her arms at the elbow, letting them fall inwards, her hands resting just below her throat. Then, carefully, she had to uncurl her fingers, move them higher, find the edge of the cloth, and start tugging down.

If this has been made to sound easy; it was not. It took several attempts, stumbling and clumsily pawing at herself, sometimes getting so woozy that she forgot what she was doing for almost a minute at a time. But she was close. And every attempt she got closer. Maybe it was the cloth drying out - maybe it was just the sequence of movements becoming more familiar. But after… maybe five minutes? Maybe more? However long it was, when it had passed, Caitlyn had finally got her fingertips between the cloth and her lips. All she had to do was tug. If she could only find the strength…!

She thought of her father. He, surely, could not take another disaster so soon after the last. She wanted to see him, to tell him that his daughter was alright and to thank him for accepting that she chose to live as she did, even if he did not understand it. She did not say that often enough. She thought also of Vi. Not just that she might be there, fighting, in general. But in general. She thought of Vi’s quest - now Caitlyn’s too - to stop Vi’s poor, mad sister. Both she and Vi knew how that quest was likely to end, and Caitlyn feared that if she was not there, if Vi did not have someone who supported and - and cared for her, that the ending to her quest - while it would break her heart whether Caitlyn were there or no - should not break her heart irreparably. She thought, too, of Piltover. Of her city, her home, that had such a need of people like Caitlyn. She was not arrogant about her abilities, but she knew herself, and knew she was honest, and that what she did she did for the right reasons. She fought. She fought, and she fought rightly, and she had to keep fighting. She had to summon strength to her fingers even if there was no strength to answer. If she could not find it, she could make it. She must!

Slowly. Slowly. But it happened. She pulled it away. Freeing her nose. Enough to breathe. Then her mouth, then pulling the damned thing right the way off her chin.
“Ugh…!” It was only now, tasting real air, that she realised how repulsive she found that taste. She lay on her back, breathing, breathing as hard as she could, trying to… purge. Purge the sleepiness. Purge the weakness. Purge the embarrassment, and the meekness that had been forced on her. To bring that Caitlyn back, and get rid of the one that Scarlet and Cyan had turned her into! Just another minute. Just another minute of breathing real air and she’d - she’d be able to stand at least. Just a few more seconds.

And then, Scarlet walked in.

“No…! No!” Immediately, Caitlyn tried to get up. To fight back. But she was still so groggy. So… dizzy. With her shackled hands, she resisted as Scarlet came upon her, with her naked legs she kicked at her, but it just didn’t do enough. “Don’t touch me… don’t - don’t.. No! No - nmhh! MMPHHH! NNNNNNNMMMMPHHHHHHHHHHHH!!”
Back it went. It had barely dried at all: still wet with soporific. And just in case Caitlyn had any ideas, Scarlet didn’t tie it in place with a stocking this time. She took out a roll of packing tape, and wound it round and round Caitlyn’s face, forcing the cloth tight against her nose and mouth, so tight that even through the tape you could see faint impressions of the shape of her lips.

Even as the haze returned, Caitlyn still fought back. She scratched at Scarlet’s face, drawing blood, smacking the cuffs into Scarlet’s nose. But it didn’t matter. She didn’t seem to care. She hardly seemed to notice. She wasn’t saying anything either. In fact, as Caitlyn got weaker, as the drug slipped back in and stole the grace from her limbs, as her fury was dulled, she noticed that Scarlet had a deep laceration on her face, and her arms were bruised. Nor was she speaking. Before you couldn’t get her to shut up. She only spoke one sentence to Caitlyn, and it was simply:
“We’re leaving.”

She pulled the sensuous weight of her captive up to her feet, then artlessly, roughly lifted her writhing figure, throwing her over her shoulder, gripping her with furious tightness around her thighs and her backside. In principle, it was groping. In principle, it was another violation of Caitlyn’s decency - and one supposed that it was. But it was sexless. She wasn’t touching Caitlyn to degrade her, or to make herself feel big, or for pleasure. She was just holding her because she wanted to carry her away. She was hurrying. She was frightened. And a few seconds later, Caitlyn understood why.

“Put… her… down!”
She was covered in injuries. Cuts, bruises, gashes, lacerations, swelling, and one or two glancing bullet wounds that still stung like hell. Her face was bloody. Her whole body looked bloody, and though plenty of it was the blood of her enemies, plenty wasn’t. She didn’t have either gauntlet now, but her fists were clenched so hard that they looked white even with all the blood on them.

Scarlet looked at her in terror. She had never, in her life, seen someone fight as Vi had fought. She was hardly human. A snarling, biting, bloody-eyed wolverine, leaping from one of her underlings to the other, dancing with ugly elegance between knife-thrusts, bullets, spears. When she had crushed Ochre’s skull against a wall, Scarlet had been furious, but not afraid. When she had turned Slan’s knife against her and forced it into her throat, Scarlet had been shocked, but not afraid. When she had caught Scarlet herself, and started beating her before being pulled off by two grunts, she had been outraged - but she had only been afraid when she had seen Cyan destroy the animal’s other weapon - only to have her face broken with a single, brutal punch from the animal’s empty, burned right hand.

“Did I… stutter?!” Vi growled, taking a single step forward. “Put her… down… now!”
“Mh… mh!” Caitlyn did not quite know what emotion she was experiencing. She was shocked, of course, that Vi really was here. She could hear, too, the pain in her voice, the raggedness of her breathing. She knew she was hurt, and she had been hurt for Caitlyn’s sake.
“I.. I…!” Scarlet stammered. She might well have done it. She might well have put Caitlyn down, and leapt screaming through the nearest window. Except, when Vi took another step forward, to menace her enemy, she pushed herself too hard. Her battered body betrayed her, and she fell to her knees. She tried to get up - but she couldn’t.

“Aha… aha! Ahahahaha!” Scarlet tittered; then giggled; then roared with twisted, vicious mirth. “Some hero! Some saviour! Ahahahaahaha!” Still bearing Caitlyn over her shoulder, she strode to where Vi was kneeling, like a lone hunting dog finding an injured bear, and wondering if it might dare take the kill for itself. She got close enough for Vi to take a swing at, and she did - but clumsily, and Scarlet moved out of the way. Vi fell on her hands and knees now, and in such a position of disadvantage, she could not get out of the way before Scarlet kicked her in the stomach.

“UGHH!” She had already taken several injuries there, and she toppled over, clutching her stomach, twisting with powerless fury.
“It’s personal, isn’t it?” Scarlet crowed. “You’re her friend, or her sister, or her wife or something.” She bent down, partly to dump Caitlyn onto the ground, and partly to catch Vi’s eye. “That’s why you fought so bravely. But it’s over now. You’re fucked; and Caitlyn is still mine.” She grabbed Caitlyn by the shoulders, pulled her up to her knees, and for the first time Vi and Caitlyn got a proper look at each other.
“Mmhh… mhhh!!” It was even worse than she thought. Vi was - oh god, she was covered in wounds. None of them looked fatal, unless she was hiding worse ones under her clothes, but… but if Scarlet kept hurting her…!
If anything, it was even worse for Vi, seeing Caitlyn. Seeing her - stripped, exposed. Seeing a look in her eyes that she found all too familiar - the look of the prisoner. Saw the cuffs around her slim wrists, faint marks on her arms and legs of ropes she’d been tied in before. Saw the impressions of lipstick on her neck, her bosom, her thighs. “I’m… sorry…!” Vi said, with complete sincerity, and a strange passion, and Caitlyn suddenly wanted more than anything in the entire world to hold her.

She almost got her chance. Scarlet took Vi by the throat, kicked her again, right the way to where Caitlyn was lying. She was almost within arm’s reach of her, but then Scarlet pulled her away again, dragging her to the centre of the room. She took a rope from a large pocket in her trousers, and for a terrible moment Caitlyn thought that Vi was going to be taken captive again. But that wasn’t the point. Scarlet didn’t bind Vi. She just wrapped the rope around Vi’s neck, and started to strangle her.

“Nh… nhhhh!!” Caitlyn was trying to scream. But it was exactly like a nightmare; where one can move, but not really; can speak, but not really. Where the most terrible thing you can imagine is happening to you, or right in front of you, and you can do nothing. Nothing except watch. Caitlyn tried to do more, tried to stand, but failed. Tried to crawl forward to throw herself between Scarlet and Vi - and she half succeeded. But in her fury and her bloodlust, for the first time Scarlet did Caitlyn real violence and, when she got close, kicked her in the chest, sending her sprawling onto the floor, far from where she was throttling Vi’s life out.

Vi fought for all she was worth. She twisted her fingers into the ropes to give herself more breathing room. She struggled ferociously, rolling Scarlet about, even banging her pretty hard into one of the walls. But every few seconds, Scarlet would loop another coil around her neck, and pull a little tighter. The battle was progressing; and all the progress was in Scarlet’s favour. Too much of Vi was cut, or bruised. Too much of her was broken. Too much of her was wounded. And then, just to make it worse, as she felt the pressure on her windpipe increased, and breathing became more and more difficult, she saw a bit of cruel, false hope. The gun. The gun that she had taken from the guard; it was lying right by Caitlyn. It had fallen from Vi’s belt when Scarlet had started brutalising her. Caitlyn just so happened to fall there when Scarlet had kicked her. But it didn’t mean anything. Vi, stupidly, had taken the cartridge out. If she’d only taken Caitlyn’s advice and got some damned firearms training she might have hung onto it; used it - kept the damned thing loaded at least! But she hadn’t thought anything of it. She didn’t know dick about guns.

Caitlyn knew all that too. That is, she knew the gun had fallen from Vi’s belt; she could see that it had no cartridge, and she knew that Vi hated guns and, when she did handle them, was exceptionally cavalier with them. She even, despite the chloroform, despite the haze, despite the weakness, despite the fog, despite everything, had the presence of mind to reflect that Vi was absolutely the sort of person who - on unloading a gun - would forget to purge the one in the chamber.

A markswoman’s body is her own worst enemy. What you need is to be swift; what you need is to be deadly. But your body doesn’t want you to do that. You try to summon up your blood, it rushes away. If you focus, your eyes swim. If you try to force it, you’re clumsy. Out of nowhere you can start to faint. If you use too much strength, or you don’t keep enough in your mind that the life of your dearest, most beloved friend is at stake, then your body can decide to really fuck you over and do the worst thing of all: fail. You can plan for hours and hours and then at the wrong moment your strength might just slip out from under you and ruin your one shot at your one shot. And even if your timing is perfect, your strength holds, your focus holds, you keep in mind what you’re fighting for, you’re as sharp as the drug will let you be, you could still just miss.

But Caitlyn Kiramman was the finest markswoman in the Piltover Enforcers. Caitlyn Kiramman did not miss. The hard part was getting her hands on the gun. The rest was easy. She shot Scarlet straight through her right eye.

Caitlyn’s captor seized up for a moment. Her grip on the rope actually got tighter. Then, with a long breath - the relief, maybe, of a soul freed from an awful, evil life - she relaxed, released, flopped onto the floor like a fish, and died.

Vi scrabbled, breathing hard, almost hyperventilating. Growling and crying out with anguish, she unwound the ropes from her neck, threw them aside like they were snakes. She saw Caitlyn, began to move to her, saw that she was handcuffed, scrabbled over to Scarlet’s body, fished around in her pockets, found a little key that she hoped would do the trick, scrabbled back over to Caitlyn, and unlocked the cuffs, tossing them away, and then pulling that fucking rag away from Caitlyn’s mouth.

“Vi… Vi… Vi!” Caitlyn stammered, shivering, feeling suddenly very naked, and very cold. “I -” she began to say, but stopped out of embarrassment. But then she realised whom she was with, and she remembered that Vi would not, could not be cruel. “I was so… frightened…!”
“I know. I know, I know. You’re okay now. Okay? Hey!” she said, as Caitlyn’s eyes started wandering in a shivering, wild sort of way. She held her head with both hands, forced Caitlyn to look at her. “You’re okay. I’m here. You’re safe. You’re safe, Caitlyn.”
Caitlyn nodded. As the fog started clearing, her adrenaline helping her to cut through it, Vi’s presence started to feel more real. She was shaken with a passionate convulsion, and she threw her long arms around Vi’s neck, embracing her, pressing her face against Vi’s cheek. “I can’t… believe it… I can’t believe you actually came for me…”
“Shut up,” Vi said, gently, wrapping her arms around Caitlyn’s chest, hugging her as tightly as her wounds would let her. “Of course I did. Of course I did.”
“... You’re hurt. Vi, you’re so… so hurt!”
“It looks worse than it is,” Vi replied, not exactly lying. The pressure of Caitlyn’s arms, even the touch of her face against Vi’s was seriously painful, but she would not for the world have broken their embrace. She felt Caitlyn sink against her, shivering, crying.

Vi held her like that for several minutes. Without thinking, she was stroking Caitlyn’s hair. Without thinking, she was drawing Caitlyn against her chest. Without thinking, she kissed her forehead. Without thinking, she let Caitlyn nuzzle into her neck, seeking safety in her that Vi was very happy to give. It still hurt, but it was soothing. So soothing that when Caitlyn said something, Vi didn’t quite hear it. Just enough to apologise, and to ask her to repeat it, and when Caitlyn did repeat it, Vi went rock still.
“Did I… did I say something wrong?”
“No,” Vi replied. “No, no, not at all. Not at all. Uh…look,” she began but she couldn’t finish, because she didn’t want Caitlyn to hear that she’d started crying too.

It was because Caitlyn had said, meaning it completely, and meaning it with the passion of someone for whom there was nothing more important:
“You’re such a good person, Vi. You’re such a good person…!”
A full list of my stories can be found here, with summaries to boot: viewtopic.php?f=70&t=32027
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