An Adventure Story
Love and lust, passion and submission, sadism and masochism. Men who always take what they want.
Captain Jamey Todhunter, a disgraced army cavalry officer, has done well as a rogue highwayman in 1750s England. Then he meets Sir Michael Taplow, a young aristocratic merchant.
Serving as Jamey's submissive apprentice, Michael is slowly drawn into a web of sexual submission and criminal training. When their most daring robbery in London goes very wrong, Michael has to decide between giving his body over to the sexual tortures of the prison warder, or seeing Jamey hanged.
They escape to the "American colonies", setting up first as merchants in Boston, then building a horse farm in Western Massachusetts. Even in the wilderness, their relationship is threatened by a new , unthinkable danger. The drumbeats of a coming Revolution echo in the background.
- 2 To Be Read lists
Publisher: MLR Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Alpha Character, Badass Hero, Big Character / Little Character, Blackmail, Cheating, Class Differences, Coming of Age, Criminals & Outlaws, Death of Parent, Fated Mates / Soul Mates, First Time, Friends to Lovers, Healing Power of Sex, In Uniform, Lone Wolf, Rescue, Second Chances, Sex Buddies Become Lovers, True Love, Villain to Hero
Word Count: 87,000
Setting: 1750s London and environs, England; Boston and Western Massachusetts
Languages Available: English
THE MAN & THE MASK
by Alex Ironrod
THE JOURNAL OF SIR MICHAEL TAPLOW, BARONET
PART ONE –ENGLAND 1730 - 1759
CHAPTER ONE - ‘STAND AND DELIVER’ 1755-1759
“Stand and deliver!” the crisp voice rang out through the foggy night air, “your money or your life.” The heavy coach slowed along the road out of London, as the driver obeyed the command and reined in his team. I was the first rider, masked and leather clad, who rode my horse into the clearing. I reined in close to the frightened coachman, a pistol held firmly in my gloved hand. A second tall rider closed in on the coach. He dismounted in a swirl of capes and boots. “Step outside please,” the deep voice commanded, “and let me see you. Don’t try any foolish moves. We have pistols trained on you and we are all excellent shots.”READ MORE
“Not more than ten miles from the Haymarket in London Town,” grumbled a well-dressed middle-aged man, as he handed two ladies out of the coach. “You’re not safe anywhere from these damned highwaymen. You’d think that by the year of Our Lord 1755, there would be better patrols on the main roads.”
“Be quiet, Benjamin, and let them get on with it,” snapped a plump lady of similar years. “I trust it’s money and jewels you want, and not my niece’s virtue.” “Madam, you are entirely right.” The tall black-garbed man smiled. “Hand them over immediately, so your niece may be preserved for her future husband. On the ground in front of me.”
The passengers complied reluctantly. With a sharp prod of the pistol in the merchant’s crotch, they finally handed over a growing pile of money bags and jewelry at the robber’s feet. “I see you brought your ready money with you, sir. For that we thank you. Now, back in your coach and away with you.” The three passengers bundled back in, complaining.
As the second highwayman, it was my task to watch these proceedings silently. Then I backed my horse away from the coach, before cracking the long whip in my other hand. The startled coachman and team cantered rapidly down the road into the fog.
The tall highwayman laughed and called to me to join him. “Help me gather up our winnings, Michael, and we’ll be off. Your intelligence worked very well again. I think they believed half-a dozen ruffians were after them.”
I slid off the back of the bay mare to walk over to the pile in my tall boots and spurs. I was delighted with our success.
“Not bad, eh, Jamey? I told you Sir Tristram was bringing his monthly take back to his country home. Where shall we meet – at the inn, or at the house?”
“Your house is more private. There we can relax and enjoy ourselves.” His leather gloved hand reached round to grasp my cock and balls through my leather breeches. I groaned with pleasure, swinging around to face him, this tall, well built and immaculately dressed man.
Captain Jamey Todhunter was the Master highwayman. I was little more than an apprentice – but with connections. With his hat and leather mask shadowing his face, he kissed me soundly, his tongue burrowing its usual path between my teeth.
“Yes, Michael, definitely the house.” He released me. “Finish putting our loot into the saddle bags and we’ll away.”
He swung easily into the saddle of the dark stallion that had been standing calmly nearby. Then I followed with equal ease. We cantered along little-used trails through Hackney Woods to my family home. Our steward,Wilfred had waited up for us, as always. He silently took the horses into the stables as we went in by the back door, dividing the saddlebags between us. Our heavy boots clomped up the servants’ staircase. We hurried down the corridor to the farthest guest room, carefully outfitted for Jamey’s tastes.
“Empty the bags of loot into the treasure hole, while I think what I should do to you. We did well tonight, so you get your reward – a good thrashing and a deep fucking –upright or bent over? Upright, I think; strip off and let me look at you in the firelight.”
I emptied the last of the night’s haul into the hiding place, before quickly shrugging out of the heavy leather coat and cape. I sat down to pull off my boots and breeches. Wearing only a light shirt and breech-clout, I rose to face my Master.
Jamey stood warming his buttocks by the fireplace, his six foot frame still dressed in a handsome Irish linen shirt, his black leather breeches and shining thigh-high boots. While he’d taken off his velvet jacket and cape, his leather mask still shadowed his eyes, those glittering green orbs. I looked back at him. At twenty I was almost the same height as his twenty-nine years, but he was broader in the shoulders and chest. As I knew full well, his still hidden prick was much bigger.
“Off with the rest of your clothes. Put your boots back on. Walk yourself over to the bed-frame, young Michael, and I’ll spread you wide.”
He bound each wrist high up on the strong bed-posts of the wooden four-poster bed, which dominated the room. My thigh-high brown booted and spurred feet were kicked far apart across the floor, before he roped them to the bottom corners of the heavy bed-frame.
“Let me look you over – firmly roped, I trust. Let me see you wriggle out of those bonds. Good, no stretch in the ropes, just that smooth butt waiting for my whip.”
He slid his long whip handle slowly down my naked back. The whip stopped at my arse cheeks, where it gently pushed into my anxious hole – and withdrew. I quivered in anticipation.
“Calm down, young man, we have all night. I’m trying to train you to relax, to enjoy every step of our sex play. You’re too anxious to be fucked. I know my cock gives you great pleasure and pain. Remember, you have to work to deserve it. So let’s begin in the front.”
He climbed up onto the bed, facing me. The whip was slid across my mouth. I tried to wet and warm the strands with my saliva, as he tweaked first one of my small nipples and then the other. The whip moved lower, caressing my belly. I moaned as it nudged my member, already erect and dripping with drops of pre-cum.
“It’s much more pleasurable to take it slowly step by step. I want both of us to enjoy you savoring my prick in your mouth. Open up wide; take it in slowly. Let your saliva coat it. Now tongue it to full erection.”
I was following his instructions. The heavy thick weight of his prick was a living brand between my lips. I wanted it deeper.
He growled, “That’s good. I can feel it growing towards your throat. You can grunt and gobble as much as you like, Michael, but watch your teeth.”
He didn’t have to remind me about my teeth. One incident of a leaking cock and an angry Master was more than enough to keep my mouth wide and my molars hidden.
“Fine, that’s enough. I’m fully up now. Beating your arse red will keep me happy and erect. First, I need to gag you, so you don’t wake the household. Kiss the leather lump, take it in and bend your head. Now I can tighten the strap properly.”
The leather wad was dry as it filled my mouth. Still he did not hesitate to wind its thick strap around the back of my head and secure it firmly.
“Next, a check my knots before I move behind you, off the bed, to start the flogging. Now let’s warm you up properly. Bite down on the gag, if you need to. Tonight you’re going to take six of my best as part of your reward.
“Let’s begin. One – yes, wriggle your arse if you want to. It’s my first target. Two – good, a nice parallel line alongside it. Three – it’s no use pulling on the ropes. Four – my knots have anchored you firmly in place. Five – watch those noises; you’ll wake up your brother and sister. Six – excellent, you’re getting better at taking your lashes, and your butt looks rosy and inviting. Now I’ll let my fingers open up your rosebud, before my cock comes calling.”
I felt first one wet finger slide into my crack, work its way in, and then a second joined it – slithering around to reach my sphincter muscle. I moaned around the gag, as the fingers were withdrawn. Jamey’s cock-head took its place, edging its way into my well-warmed hole. As his tool began to find its pathway, stretching the sheath, Jamey’s body joined up to mine. His powerful hands, clamping round my chest, pulled on my tenderized tits with delight, as his member sank fully home. One large hand moved up to cover my gagged mouth. I could smell my own cock juices still on his fingers. The other went back down to my wandering and leaking penis.
We were locked together, joined by his throbbing rod. It unlatched my secret door and heated my velvet tunnel. Our bodies began to sweat together, as he moved in and out. I tried to rear back on the pole which I wanted to fill me so completely. He thrust and I bucked in rhythm, one of his hands continuing to caress my face, the other caressing my own fuck tool. He bit my shoulder. I hissed with pleasure.
The sweat slithered between our heated bodies as he increased his tempo. His strong tool shoved me forward in my bondage, surging in and out of my channel. He worked my dick more firmly. My arse muscles clamped down on his prick in turn. I felt his balls tightening. My Master’s cum surged upward into my waiting innards. Suddenly my body arched in turn, as my jism splashed out in long white ropes across his waiting hand.
We swayed together there. I was trembling in the ropes. He was gasping on my back. Suddenly he brought up his hand with my cum, to spread it over my face, pushing some of it round the gag and into my mouth. Slowly he pulled out of me. I sighed deeply. He slapped my sore butt, chuckling with pleasure. “You’re beginning to make an excellent fuck-partner. A few more robberies like tonight will spur me to finish training you in how to service me in a variety of positions. For now, let’s untie you; then we’ll clean off and get some rest. You want to sleep with me for the rest of the night?”
I nodded, sore and stretched, cum-filled and cock-happy. I sponged clean his eight inch tool, lavishing warm water from the fire place and lavender soap to wash his body, once he had undressed. I cleaned myself, front and back, letting a little of his cum seep from my hole onto my hand, and then into my mouth. We lay down together in the large four-poster bed. It was a rare treat for me to feel Jamey’s muscled arms around me, with his tool still gently nudging my crack. He fell asleep almost immediately. I lay there, warm and filled, and thought back.
“Stand and Deliver!” Was it only eight months since I had first heard a highwayman’s challenge? How much had changed since that dark night when my sister, father and I had been driving home and we had met Captain Todhunter.
We had been celebrating that night in London at the fashionable Vauxhall Gardens as it was my sister’s eighteenth birthday. In addition, one of my father’s ships had recently docked, loaded with goods from the East India Company, of which he was a director.
Sir Richard Taplow, my father, had done very well for himself as a merchant venturer, with a sprawling new house and estate in the country. He had many friends in London, to judge from the greetings and conversations as we strolled through the Gardens, There were various entertainments to enjoy and exotic foods to be sampled. So we were still in a festive mood going home in our coach, until the command to halt rang out.
Three masked men on horseback surrounded the coach; one dismounted as we stumbled out of the coach. I watched him; tall, well-built, well-dressed in a dark green jacket, black leather breeches and very tall shining black boots and spurs. Even the horse behind him was sleek and well-groomed.
“And you, young man, what have you to contribute?” He forced my attention back to his purpose – to rob us. “A watch, some rings, or do you want to give me something else – something more personal – that you look me over so closely.”
“Here, here’s what money I have, and you can have my watch.”
I dared him; he leaned over and jerked it out of my waistcoat in one swift movement, while his gloved hand with the loaded pistol firmly poked my balls and penis for emphasis. I hissed with pain and looked sharply into the eyes behind the leather mask, which snapped and twinkled at me. My sister was in tears over a necklace, which had been her birthday present. I dared again.
“Sir, and if you are a gentleman, you will return the necklace, which my father just gave to my sister for her birthday.”
“And what, young sir, can I claim in return – a kiss from her, or a kiss from you?”
He didn’t wait for an answer, but strode back to me, seizing my jaw and forcing my mouth open. It was a kiss such as I’d never enjoyed before. His tongue slid in and out of my gaping mouth; his lips then crunched down on mine.
“Not a bad exchange for a necklace.” He chuckled. “Now back in the coach with you all.”
He swatted my arse, and I leapt into the carriage, with the necklace thrust into my hand.
“Michael, what did you say to him?” demanded my sister. “Why did he kiss you and not me? Anyway you got my present back and I thank you.”
I was bewildered; the taste of his mouth – tobacco and brandy – lingered on my tongue. My cock rose in my breeches, excited by the challenge and danger I thought he offered. It was an exciting experience for a nineteen year old student, well robbed and well kissed by a “gentleman of the road” in one evening.
Suddenly my father groaned, sinking back in the upholstered seats. He was gasping, red in the face. Elizabeth, my sister, reached over to undo his thick lace collar. I leaned out of the window and called to the coachman “Hurry, Wilfred, my father has been taken suddenly ill.” We got him safely home, but he never rose from his large bed again.
“Disease of the heart,” the doctors said, and he died a couple of months later. Mourners came out from London and elsewhere – busy gentlemen from the East India Company, and our neighboring squires and their ladies. Also attending was the family lawyer, who, later that day, sat me down firmly in the study.
“Now, Sir Michael – yes, you’ve inherited the title, but little else. It is better I give you the unvarnished truth. Your father was over-extended. Two of his ships are missing with their cargoes. You do own this house and grounds free and clear. Your father’s London house is on a twenty year lease, which is paid up. You may want to dispose of it, as there are no funds for staff wages or upkeep. There will be a modest income from the company for you, your younger brother Joseph and your sister. You’ll have to leave the university and find yourself a career. Does the army appeal, or do you fancy business, like your father? Some of his friends can probably help you. Think about it for a day or so, and let me know.”
So, Sir Michael Taplow, Baronet, or Bart for short, needed a position in life. I took stock of my assets – tall, well-built, reasonably well educated, reasonably good-looking, reasonably charming to the ladies. I was a gentleman in fact, but cash-poor and land-poor. The following week, I put on my good clothes and rode into Town.
The results were disappointing; my father’s business had been well run by a factor, but with two ships still missing on their return voyages from India and China, he could see little or no profit in the immediate future. The Seven Years War, which was then raging, made trading in the farther parts of the new British Empire a risky proposition.
Some of my father’s friends would see me, but had little to offer by way of a paid position, due to my lack of business experience and ready cash to invest. Some so-called friends closed their doors in my face, or tried to buy the business for a ridiculously low sum, counting on my student ignorance.
I was depressed riding back home through Hackney Woods a couple of weeks later, when I came to the crossroads where we had met the highwaymen almost three months before. I let my horse drink from the stream for a moment. My gloomy thoughts ran to revenge, recompense and robbery. What about stealing from some of the rich merchants who refused to help the son of their former partner? I also wondered about joining up with the brotherhood of the robbers. And the image of the tall dark man in a green jacket and black thigh boots and a twinkling eye rose unbidden before my eyes. I could almost feel the taste of his tongue and scent the danger he represented. I came to, pulling up my horse’s head, digging in my spurs and galloping away from the place.
But the image and the ideas kept haunting me until I had to do something. So I went out to the stables to consult our coachman,
“Wilfred, if I wanted to find out more about those highwaymen, or men like them, where would I go?”
“Whatever would yer want with them, Master Michael - beg pardon, I mean Sir Michael, they’re lay-about rascals most of ’em.”
“I need someone like that to render me a service – for my father’s sake.”
“Well, I’ve ‘eard tales, no’but tales, mind yer, that the old inn in the woods – The Green Man – is a meeting place for them.”
I thanked the faithful Wilfred, and told him to look for me back late that evening. I changed into an old buff jerkin, leather breeches and boots, and rode off to find the inn – and what else? How would I recognize any highwayman? They would want to blend into the role of customers – and I would have to conform. So I pulled my hat down, swaggered up to the bar, and banged on the counter for service.
“I want a pint of your best small ale, and I’m looking for a good man to help me with a special task.”
I bumped around and then slumped down at one of the greasy tables, checking the other customers. Not many of them looked young enough for robbers; most looked like local laborers and shepherds. A couple in the corner caught my attention – heavy jackets, breeches, riding boots and spurs; the younger blond one looked vaguely familiar. But they stayed engrossed in conversation with one another. And nothing promising happened that night, nor the following two evenings, when I came back, looking for trouble.
The fourth night I found it. The two horsemen were there again, and I was almost certain the blond one had been one of the highwaymen when we had been robbed. So I sauntered over, sat down beside them and opened the conversation.
“You men look like you know horses. Are you looking for some extra work?’
“Maybe, but nothing illegal-like,” the blond one muttered.
“No, I need help with a scheme to get my revenge on someone. He’ll be riding through the wood this evening with his money bags.” As I understood he did every evening.
“Well, follow us out to stables and we’ll see about t’ price,” the other man stood up slowly, casually strolling out of the taproom.
It wasn’t the tall stranger in the green jacket, but it was a lead. As I entered the stables, I was grabbed from behind in a choke hold. My wrists were rapidly roped together. The blond man moved in front of me.
“I’ve seen yer before – you’re the boy the Captain fancied at the crossroads – the one with the pretty sister.”
“So what if I am. I’m looking for a couple of strong men who are experienced “gentlemen of the road”, I think the phrase is. If this robbery works, I might be looking to join such a gang.”
“And what’ve yer got fer us? He don’t look like money to me, eh Bert?” The blond, stouter fellow seemed to be in charge.
“I know the local area like the back of my hand; I’ve got a good fast horse; I can shoot straight; I can identify you to the local magistrates, if you don’t agree.”
Bert, the man holding me, snarled and tightened his choke hold. The blond leered at me.
“The Captain thought you were a likely lad. If you don’t have gold guineas, there’s a different price to pay. We get to beat your arse and you get to suck me off.”
“Damn you, I don’t think so; I’m not anyone’s bum-boy. I’m not into whatever ‘sucking you off’ involves. I’m too old to be beaten anymore.”
“Please yerself - yer can’t join otherwise, and look at yer prick stirring in them breeks of your’n.”
“String’m up, Bill,” growled the stronger man behind me. “At least we can lay on a few good stripes.”
He marched me over to an empty stall, loosening the choke hold for a minute to release my hands. I butted blond Bill with my head, and scrambled to get out, but his partner Bert was quick to trip me. I fell heavily against the wooden wall of the stall, while Bill moved in for a couple of sharp kicks to my stomach with his leather boots. I groaned, trying to cover up, but was yanked to my feet. My coat and shirt came off and down came my breeches and breech-clout, as I tried not to puke up my beer. My arms, still roped together at the wrists, were hauled up to a nearby cross beam. My bare butt and chest shone in the lantern light.
“Stuff his shirt in his mouth, so he won’t make noise. He can have ten strokes, or suck us both.” Bert was enjoying himself.
“Make it ten with yer studded belt, Bert; that should hurt. Then we’ll larn this virgin cock-sucker how ter pleasure a real man.”
I wriggled frantically, my boots scrabbling in the straw of the stall, but I couldn’t get out of the reach of Bert’s strong arm. He let me have three or four strokes across my arse-cheeks, as I writhed and gurgled into the make-shift gag. Then he moved up, flogging me with pleasure back and front, where I could see the smiling lust in his face. Then Bill let down my arms, and I collapsed in the straw. But there was no respite; my wrists were forced behind me. Bert grabbed a handful of my hair. He hauled me into a kneeling position, pulling out the shirt gag as he did so.
I’d had enough. “You bastards, who gave you the right to treat anyone like this. Alright, you can have the two guineas in my jacket’s inside pocket. That should suffice.”
Bert still held me up on my knees, while Bill scurried over to check my jacket for the money. He whooped as he found the two gold coins I’d secreted in the inner pocket.
“Alright, Bert, let’s release the young lord. Now see ‘ere, we’ll work with yer on whoever it is yer so anxious to rob tonight. Just remember we get to keep most of the swag. Yer comes along on probation-like. If ye’ve never done it afore, ye’ll need ter keep a sharp watch. Now where do we catch ‘em in yon wood?”
It was suddenly real. My vague plan had been to waylay one of my father’s associates who had absolutely refused to help me. Joseph Bryant was a jeweler in the City, who brought home his daily takings through Hackney Woods. I wanted revenge, but did I want to become a robber? There seemed little alternative; blond Bill threw my clothes at me, and I pulled up my breech-clout and breeches, gasping as my rough old shirt pulled against my striped back. The two men laughed at my bedraggled appearance; I looked as unwholesome as they did. They led their horses out of their stalls, unrolling from the back of their saddles dark cloaks and scarves for their faces.
“‘Ere yer’d better cover yer nose and pretty mouth with this old kerchief, and pull yer hat down over yer eyes. Got a pistol?” I nodded. “Let’s mount up. Yer lead the way, boy. Don’t try any fancy stuff, or I’ll shoot yer horse and leave yer for t’authorities.”
I groaned from my beaten buttocks as I climbed into my saddle. It was all happening too fast. We moved out of the inn-yard. The reality of the situation caught up with me. My stomach churned. What should I do? The horses trotted through the woods towards the cross-roads. Did I really want to rob him – or was I merely playing? I was leading the way. But what did I know about holdups or robbery? I was a good shot, but that had all been in sport. What did I know about my companions? The twilight was fading fast. I knew we had to hurry. How reliable were these louts as thieves? We reached the road along which Bryant had to come. There we waited. The die was cast. I was involved – up to my neck.
“Stand and Deliver!” shouted Bill in an uncertain voice. Then all hell broke loose. Everything went wrong. It was the jeweler alright, but, as he came up to us, he discharged his pistol. Bill screamed. Bryant’s horse then charged into mine; I fell to the ground. His animal leapt over me and galloped off down the road with his owner unharmed. Bert dismounted. We both raced over to the wounded man. He said his shoulder was hit. Indeed blood was beginning to seep down his arm, but he could still ride. We rode post-haste back to the inn, Bill cursing and groaning, as he lurched in the saddle. I was dispatched for a doctor they knew who would not ask too many questions. His housekeeper told me he was out, and not expected back soon.
It was full night by the time I got back. There was not a sign of my accomplices. As I rode into the stables, a rope dropped suddenly and neatly over my shoulders, pinioning my arms to my sides. The horse kept walking and I found myself walking on air, dangling five feet from the ground. As I fought, the rope tightened round my straining torso. Bill stepped out of the shadows, his dirty pale face a mask of fury and pain, his shirt now stained with blood.
“Yer clumsy shit-head. Yer led us into a trap. Don’t deny it. Yer knew he were armed. Now look at me – disabled for weeks. And no swag ter sell. Well, we want sommat back from yer in return. Since yer don’t seem to ‘ave any money, we’re goin’ to get it out of yer in sex-play. Bert is goin’ to take your arse. I’m goin’ ter fuck yer face. Right, Bert, lower ‘im down a bit. We want ‘is feet on the ground – that’s far enough. Tie off the rope. Now let’s get it off with our new bum-boy.”
I butted and kicked out, but my upper body was already tightly roped. Bert noosed one booted ankle, tying it off to a ring in the stable floor. He then grabbed my other boot and fastened it similarly. I snorted and stamped in place, like an unbroken stallion. Bill wound more rope round my chest and arms, after he blinded me with a scarf round my eyes. Bert unlaced my breeches, pulled them down, releasing my rising tool, and exposing my reddened ass cheeks.
A leather cord was bound, first round my balls separating the two, then round my prong. My manhood was laced to yet another ring in the ground, I shuddered, excited by the aura of sex and sweat, terrified of the rape to come.
“Bert, pull that there mounting block over here, so as I can get up and mount his mouth”, called Bill “Get ‘im ter suck yer for a minute or two to get yer juiced up before yer stick it in ‘is ‘ole. Give it to ‘im ‘hard. Remember, boy, if yer shows yer teeth, yer cock’ll really feel it. Like this.”
A couple of sharp blows across my manhood jerked my laced penis. A couple of back-handed slaps across the face jerked all of me in my roped bondage. A couple of Bert’s belt blows reawakened my reddened arse. I whimpered in rage and pain, as I opened up to first Bert’s and then Bill’s cock nuzzling in my mouth. I put up a real fight, twisting and struggling as Bert’s salivated pole tried to enter at my rosy virgin butt hole.
“What the fuck is going on here?” an authoritative voice came out of the darkness. “What the hell are you scum doing to that boy?”
“Nothin, Captain, just a bit o’fun,” wheezed Bill.
“Well, put those cocks away while I take a look at him.”
The blindfold was pulled off; I blinked and found myself looking into the face of Captain Jamey Todhunter.
“Cut him down now. Get his clothes back on him, after you’ve unlaced his cock. Now where have I seen you before?”
“He’s the cheeky lad we robbed aroun’ a couple a months ago – t’one with pretty sister with a necklace. This evenin’ he’s tricked us into a robbery gone wrong. Now look at me,” wailed Bill.
“Shut up; you’re always complaining. It looks like a flesh wound – they always bleed like pigs. Bert, take a proper look at his shoulder. Now, boy, what about you? You look pretty grubby yourself.”
I glared at him, rubbing my wrists to restore the circulation, wondering what tricks he had in mind, daring him again.
“Alright, boys, take yourselves inside; get our worthy landlord to help you. We certainly pay him enough to keep quiet about us. Come on, lad, you look as though you could do with a drink.”
I dressed myself as quickly as my bruised body would allow. I followed him into the quiet parlor of the inn, where hot food and drink rapidly appeared. Todhunter ate by the fire, spreading his legs in their thigh boots. I poured out my story, from Father’s death to my unfortunate first effort at a robbery. The Captain laughed sympathetically
“So now you want to become a “Gentleman of the Road”. You want to earn an illegal living. Well, give me some reasons I should consider taking you on, as a possible apprentice.”
I thought for a moment; this was not like threatening or dealing with his loutish companions.
“I need to avenge myself on some of my father’s former friends – the merchants who won’t help me. I need money to do that, to live on. I’m bright and intelligent, a good horseman, a cracker shot, who knows the land around here. “Also,” I paused, “I can gather information about these merchants, their movements and shipments, for I can mix with them socially.”
“Well, that’s a novel idea – a spy in the victims’ camp. But can I trust you? You could also be a spy for the authorities. What assurances can you give me, to let you ride with me, and to depend on you?”
He was right, of course. I thought “what interested him?”, so I took a dangerous chance.
“You saw what your ruffians were about to do to me. I think you share similar tastes, but you are still a gentleman. I’m prepared to let you be the first to rape my arse, to become your bum-boy. What other baronet would make such an offer to satisfy your man-sex needs?”
He looked up sharply, then came over and grasped my jaw in his big hand. He looked long and hard with those glittering green eyes.
“A baronet, eh? And you would be prepared to let me fuck you to become a highwayman? You know what you’re risking, boy? You’re taking a double chance on my sexual preferences – first, that I prefer men; second, that I’m not some sadist or pervert who’ll beat you black and blue before torturing you for my own pleasure.
“Well, you’ve been more than frank with me, so I’ll relieve your mind. Yes, I enjoy having sex with men. Yes, I find you attractive. No, I’m not a sadist, but I will expect to train you hard for my particular pleasures. And so, yes, I’ll take you on as an apprentice sex-boy-robber.”
Thus began the new life of Sir Michael Taplow as a highwayman. “Stand and Deliver!”COLLAPSE