I got prompted on Tumblr to combine the Dragonslayer story I wrote with a strong desire I have to pair a genuinely asexual character and a very sexual character in order to shine a light on the difference between ‘aromantic’ and ‘asexual’. I don’t think that would work for Dane and the Patroness, so here are two somewhat similar characters for me to play with :3
It had been seven months, three weeks and five days—Tessie had been counting. Every morning she opened her diary and made another mark for another night passed, another night spent prisoner in this tall, tall tower atop a blackstone castle on the highest peak. Below, billowing smoke from the nostrils of sleeping dragons drifted upward past her window into the dark clouds. She watched the beautiful curls it made in the air as she brushed her lovely golden hair, set her jewelled tiara atop her head and then settled down in the chair opposite the window to wait.
She’d been waiting quite a long time.
Princess Marla had to wait a whole year, she reminded herself on the brief moments she allowed herself to doubt that someone would come for her. Marla had also had seven dragons to Tessie’s three, and her castle had been surrounded by a ring of molten lava, while Tessie’s just had a plain old moat. It wouldn’t be long, she promised herself. Soon, a dashing young knight would cut his way through the evil dragons and rescue her. She’d been imagining that moment ever since she was kidnapped; it was that thought that entertained her during her reverie.
At first, she’d imagined her knight might be quite like herself: blonde, fair and outspoken. She imagined him in shining armour with teeth as white as his horse’s mane. Then, when that idea grew dull, she imagined he might be a foreign knight from the forbidden kingdoms. Pale skin, black hair and full lips. Maybe he wouldn’t even ride a horse; maybe he’d ride some sort of winged steed from the depths and he’d fly directly into her window and carry her off. These days she quite liked the idea of one of the darker-skinned knights of her own kingdom’s Council of Protectors braving her dragons. It was so exciting to try and imagine what sort of man might rescue her! Whoever it was, she was sure they would be terribly heroic and the ladies at court would be so jealous.
When the day finally came and she was finally awoken by the almighty roar of one of her dragons, she could barely contain a little shriek of excitement: it was time! She gathered her long skirts and jogged over to the window, leaning out as far as she could and watching the commotion below.
A valiant knight had fought his way across the drawbridge and into the courtyard, his sword swinging like an executioner’s axe as he rode. His horse was black like the night and his armour was polished silver, and he had a red Council of Protectors crest on his shield. As the dragons all swooped, breathing fire and smoke across the clearing, he and his mighty steed dodged them easily, cutting through the dragons’ scales until her captors were nothing more than burning ash on the cobblestones.
Then, he dismounted in the centre of the courtyard, sheathed his sword and went to take off his helmet so he could see about him.
This is it! Tessie realised, leaning so far out of the window she threatened to fall out. This is where I find out what sort of man has rescued me!
He was facing away from her when he lifted his helmet from his head, and no sooner had he done so, a sea of black tresses fell out of his helmet and blew about him in the wind.
He must be a nobleman with hair like that, Tessie thought indulgently, leaning on her elbows as he turned around. The only people who grew their hair long like that were sons of noblemen, mages and—her breath caught her throat as he turned his face upwards towards her window—
That was a woman’s face. A woman’s high cheek bones and lips, but with broad shoulders and a strong, chiselled jaw.
A woman knight. A woman knight looking aloft towards Tessie like there was a light shining from the heavens onto her.
Tessie nearly shrieked with excitement again. Women knights were so rare! There were hardly a dozen of them in the whole kingdom and she was about to be rescued by one! As she stood to make herself presentable before the knight arrived in her tower, she could barely contain herself: the ladies at court would be so jealous. There were whispers about what women knights were like—their gentle hands, their soft hearts and their prowess in bed—but Tessie had never known anyone who had any direct experience with them. But she was about to be rescued by one!
She hurriedly rouged her cheeks and put sweet wax on her lips, tousling her hair again and then spending a minute or two spreading her skirts about her on the four-poster bed. Draped strategically to look as beautiful and as buxom as possible, she made herself ready for the arrival of her knight. She’d been practicing for this moment for seven whole months.
There were heavy footsteps on the spiral staircase that led to her room, and then the sharp strike of steel on steel as the knight cut through the rusted chains on her door. Tessie’s breast was heaving below her chin as the door sprung open and revealed the knight in all her glory—the light from Tessie’s candelabras glinting off both her shining armour and glossy black hair, and her handsome features even sharper in the firelight.
“Lady Tessa,” the knight said, voice soft and deep as she removed her gauntlets and held out her hand. “I am Sir Victoria the Just, Knight of the Council of Protectors, and I have come to rescue you from this cursed place.”
There were butterflies in Tessie’s stomach. “My hero,” she sighed, pushing out her swelling breast. “What can I ever do to repay you…?”
Victoria’s hair was practically billowing in the wind. “You can leave this place with me and never return,” she said gallantly, and then took Tessie’s hand.
That… wasn’t exactly what Tessie had planned. “Oh,” she said. Then, in a flash of brilliance, she pretended to swoon, falling back onto her plush blankets.
“My Lady?” Victoria rushed to assist her. Tessie could fell strong hands on her cheek and her waist. “Are you alright? I hope I didn’t frighten you!”
“My laces…” Tessie pretended to gasp, gesturing vaguely at the cords on the front of her bodice.
“Of course, allow me.” Victoria loosened them, supposedly to allow for Tessie to breathe, but in the process allowing Tessie’s breasts to nearly spill out of her undergarments. They were right there, inches below Victoria’s hands, warm and soft and waiting for the knight to take them. Tessie heaved each breath, her skin singing in anticipation of being ravished by her knight.
Victoria’s hands didn’t go anywhere. “If you’re still short of breath, would you like me to carry you down to my trusty steed?”
Tessie was confused. Why was she not being ravished? “Actually, I think I’d like to lie here for a moment and catch my breath…” She opened her eyes slightly, fluttering her eyelashes at the knight. “Perhaps you’d like to lie up here a moment with me…?”
Victoria’s brow dipped. “I really think we should be leaving this cursed place.”
Perhaps the good Sir Knight was just concerned about taking advantage of her? “The dragons are slain, there’s no reason to rush…” Tessie bent one of her legs so that her bare ankle peaked out from under her skirts. Knights went wild for a hint of leg, all the ladies at court said.
Apparently the ladies at court were wrong, because Victoria simply lifted Tessie clean off the bed—skirts at all—and effortlessly began to carry her down the stairs.
Tessie frowned, and stopped pretending she was swooning. “Why are we leaving?”
Victoria’s hair was still billowing. “Because my whole life, I have been training to build the courage and skill required to slay dragons and rescue helpless damsels, and now I have finally reached my goal, I am going to return you to safety so you can live a long and fruitful life, safe from your captors.”
That wasn’t exactly what Tessie meant. “Well, erm, many thanks,” she said hesitantly. “But we’re not supposed to leave yet.”
Victoria stopped. “Why, are there yet more foes for me to vanquish?”
Tessie sighed. “No.” It felt a little odd to say it. “You’re supposed to ravish me.”
Victoria gave her a very strange look. “Here? In this place?”
Tessie nodded. “Yes, here,” she said a bit impatiently. “After the battle, you’re supposed to be coursing with the adrenaline of the fight and the triumph of defeating the dragons, and then when you lay eyes on me, your loins are supposed to be filled with lust at my beauty and then you ravish me, and deflower me, and make me your steed this night as you ride me over and over and over—”
Victoria looked a little pale. “I’m supposed to?” Tessie nodded. If it was possible, the knight went even paler. She turned back up the stairs. “Very well, My Lady, if those are the services you require of me…”
Tessie stopped her. “Don’t you want to?” Victoria just stared at her. It was all so odd. “Am—am I not beautiful enough for you?”
Victoria looked alarmed. “My Lady Tessa, you are more beautiful than the rising sun,” she began. “More beautiful than every single stair in the night—”
“—but you don’t want to take me?” At Victoria’s blank look, something occurred to Tessie. “You do know what two people do on their wedding night, don’t—”
“—of course,” Victoria told her shortly, cutting her off. She appeared to gather herself in preparation. “Is that what you would like? Because I’m happy to be of service to such a beautiful young maiden if it is.”
Tessie looked across at her handsome saviour. There was no hunger at all in Victoria, not the slightest glint of lustful desire to be found. This wasn’t at all how it was supposed to go; not much she could do about it now, though. “No,” she said, sighing audibly. “No, the moment’s passed. Just rescue me then, I suppose.”
“Erm, very well,” Victoria said, and turned again, escorting her down the stairs, out into the courtyard, and then lifting Tessie in all her beautiful flowing gowns in front of her in the saddle.
Victoria put one of her strong arms gently around the front of Tessie, and they rode off into the sunset towards the capital.
Tessie had almost come to the depressing conclusion that she’d waited a full seven months to be rescued only to find out that she she was simply not to the taste of her hero, when she felt soft lips grace the crown of her head. It made her stomach flutter and her knees weaken. At the same time, it was horribly confusing. If Victoria did find her beautiful, why was she not also tearing at Tessie’s bodice when invited to do so? Wasn’t deflowering damsels part of the reason people became knights in the first place?
Warm breath on Tessie’s ear distracted her from her thoughts. “It will take us a full week to reach the capital,” Sir Victoria told her. “I hope that is not too inconvenient for you.”
I’ve been locked in a tower for seven months, Tessie mentally replied, relishing Victoria’s touch and acutely aware of Victoria’s arm around her waist. “Not at all, Sir Knight,” was what she actually said.
Well, perhaps that week would give Tessie the opportunity to try and win over this Sir Victoria the Just, Knight of the Council of Protectors, after all.