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The Cult of Bacchae

Part 1

The Cult of the Bacchae

By ninja5


Introduction of Characters.


“Youre getting worse you know,” Doctor Lydia Gallaher Clay sat opposite her benefactor in the dining cart of the Atlantic Coast Express.  The haze of the air outside made the afternoon sun shroud the train in shadow.  She herself could not really comment.  Who wears a grey top hat in khaki suit?

“Oh doctor dont be a bore.” Lady Cynthia Chadwicke Bonney knew the value of celebrity.  Her attire was to advertise her persona and sell her brand Lady Adventurer for the Court.  She was an acquisitioner of grandeur and role model.  The good Doctor, though a womans emancipation was a shared goal, announce her… proclivity, as Cynthia put it, to0 boldly.  Declaring equality to men is not the same as declaring them of no carnal use.

The Doctors comments were directed at the pith helmet sitting atop Lady Cynthias crown.  Her raven, tussled hair flow down past her shoulders and surrounded her round pale face.  Her high cheek bones and doll like eyes easily masked the seasoned explorers lethality with a flintlock pistol or rifle.  She kept a tiny version the good Doctor had constructed strapped to her thigh were her garter belt straps held her stockings.  She was more than capable with a sabre, but her broad hips and endowments meant she looked clumsy as she parried, lunged and performed the feint.  Never tolerating the appearance of clumsiness Lady Cynthia kept the young Whipple on hand during expeditions to tend to her bevy of firearms.

The thought of the uplifted street urchin startled Lady Cynthia from her meditation.  “Where is Whipple?”

The Doctor, taller and slender in her pseudo masculine attire concealed her occupation as an adventurer, she was no commercial for the propaganda of the empire.  “You sent her check the artefacts containers so they would be sound for your grand presentation to the Royal Society tonight.”  The Doctor was a renaissance woman.  Skilled in mechanical engineering, chemistry and biology, yet her dealings with lesser intellects often led her to explain the obvious.

Before the Doctors lack of incite at the curiosity for the agent of delay could become a nuisance to Lady Cynthia, the out of place tomboy enter the first-class carriage to looks of disapproval from other diners.  Her attitude to those she was not indentured to relished in the negative attention and she strode down the compartment to stand at the end of the table in the aisle.  She had a cats eyes and copper hair parted into two ponytails.  She said nothing, never did unless asked a question.  She was cunning by her youth, smart, but in the way frowned upon by those of the upper caste.  She was quick with a knife.

“Satisfactory?”  Lady Cynthia enquired, poised.  She spoke down to Whipple, but that was because she never let Whipple forget the night they had met.  After hours of translating a Latin text chronicling Caesars exploration of Egypt she had sought to collect her thoughts with a stroll on the smoggy streets of Hampstead.  A coal dust clad shadow had darted from an alley, the little light that penetrated the smog reflecting of the metal shank she extended.  Lady Cynthia marvelled at the audacity, or courage, of a crime in such a neighbourhood.  The stealth required and the cunning was noteworthy.  The unknown Whipple made no demands for cash, letting the blade speak for itself.  Lady Cynthia reached for her coin purse, but the small pistol blurred out of it and with a single shot to the thigh the urchin crumbled.  Lady Cynthia had kicked the blade away and carrying the wounded girls weight guided her back to her house were the good Doctor treated the wound.  Whipple was fed, bathed and given the option be handed over to the guard, or accept a job.

“Crates stacked by weight and size, securely strapped to the shelves.”  Whipple eyed the table.  There was none of the food she sought.  Doctor Clay had often marvelled at how much Whipple could eat and not gain weight.  Even after the trio had been together for four expeditions and Whipple had proved her worth, Doctor Clay still looked at her as a mystery to be solved by dissection.

The value to science would be immeasurable. Doctor Clay looked out the window.  Her curiosity often escaped the bounds of civility.

The chatter of a suited gentlemen and gowned woman two booths back caught Lady Cynthias ear.  Always interested in appearances, and realising Whipples presence was an affront, she handled the situation diplomatically.  “Go back to the container cart Whipple.  Ill have the waiter send his best back for you.”

Whipple didnt smile but took her leave.


Foucaults Pendulum.


Lady Cynthia stepped off the train closely followed by the good Doctor.  She immediately sited the cluster of tweed suited gentlemen accompanied by two cameramen hunched under the black sheet holding the flash ready for the photo.  Lady Cynthia posed and inhaled the thick acrid air of London as if to savour the essence of the Capital.  Both flashes fired and the reporters ran forward.  Doctor Clay stepped out of the lime light, still very much the Ladys companion, but not at all interested in the attention.

“Lady Cynthia Chadewicke Bonny”, the first reported rushed forward with.  “Did the Cretan rebellion interfere with your…”

“Lady Cynthia, were you ever in danger.”  A man with a Dali moustache interrupted.

“The artefacts you recovered came from Delphi.  Is the Greek government happy with your exporting them for conservation?”  This one was apt - Lenny Price from the Herald.  Truth be told Lady Cynthia paid him a modest fee for asking scripted questions.  He was a reporter for the Social pages and saw the Ladys presence captured on photograph at any event she attended.

“Gentlemen.  The Ottomans cannons are bombarding the countryside.  The Armenian guerrillas have entered Greek borders in small bands and lay waste to villages.  We cannot trust that such important artefacts will be safe so long as the Cretans continue resist the privileges of Empire.  Though we ourselves”, Lady Cynthia gestured to Doctor Clay, “did not encounter blasts of cannon balls, guerrillas bent on sabotage and demoralization did threaten our site.”  Lenny Prices question was answered with a boast that would see several reporters hound her for details over the next few days.  She would save the tale of boarding the steam airship and the battle with rebellious fascists for the Sunday edition.

“So your life was in peril yet again?”  A short balding man pointed his pen in the air desperately trying to get at least one quote.

“You know, I really do think they thought they were putting my life in peril.”  She dipped her head and took her leave, Doctor Clay following after her.

Once out of earshot clay spoke up.  “If I recall correctly it was Whipple and I who dispatched the fascists whilst you paraded around with a pistol as decoy.”

“Oh dont let reality get in the way of a good story Lydia.”  She only called her Lydia when she was vexed.

“I suppose when you tell it tonight you fenced two men at once instead of using your pistols to give them a sporting chance.”  The Doctor protested but didnt mind.  As they walked down the length of the train the black smoke and coal dust speckled their clothes the London grey.  Airships navigated above and the constant clicking of mechanical devices over the clatter of horse hooves bought back the familiar static of home.  “Its good to breathe thick air again.  Greeces air was too thin I felt as if I was inhaling nothing.”  They approached the cargo cart.  Its door was slide wide open and Whipple sat on the edge of the door letting her legs sway back and forth.  Two yard workers wound winches of the clockwork pulley and a third attached the chain around the largest crate, Lady Cynthias greatest bounty The Alter of Dionysus.

“Careful men.  Thats worth more than youll see in Kings Lifetime.”  Lady Cynthia glared at the men as they treated her bounty with common indifference.

Whipple translated.  “See it on the cart safely and theres a healthy tip in it for you.”

The man in the cart double checked the chain and hollered.  Outside the two men on the pulley started to crank their wheels and the crate lifted.  There was a dance of levers and gears and the crate swung out of the train cart and over the waiting steam wagon.  As it lowered to safety Lady Cynthia walked to the driver whilst Doctor Clay produced two silver coins for each of the three men.  “Driver”, Lady Cynthia said to the red nosed man behind the wheel.  “Straight to the Royal Society.  The men there will take care of unloading it.”  The three other men were busy stacking the smaller crates onto the back of the wagon.  Again as Lady Cynthia took her leave Doctor Clay appeared and tipped the driver.  As the last parcel was loaded and canvas sheet was pulled over and the wagon jetted out steam as it started its slow acceleration.  Lady Cynthia watched on from a distance; Doctor Clay to her right; and Whipple to her left.  “Well, well ladies.  Another successful expedition.”  She smiled and turned to her posy.  “Now to reap the acclaim.”


The Setting


“Youre using to Changs again arent you?”  Doctor Clay sniffed the collar of her white shirt.

“Whipple sees to the washing.”  Lady Cynthia had been hours getting ready.  Though spoken of Whipple stood to the side with indifference.  At any moment Lady Cynthia could tire of her dress and want to start from scratch.  That meant Whipple would again be pulling at the threads of the corset, further extenuating the curves of her principal.

Doctor Clay was in the adjoining room, shouting through the open doors.  “I dont like Changs, he doesnt rinse after he bleaches.  Tell her to take it to the woman in Baines street.”

Lady Cynthia didnt reply.  She was busy dry brushing a hint of lead powder over her face to make herself appear pale.  The Mediterranean may have given her a tan, but that was decidedly inappropriate for the Royal Society.  The last thing she wanted to do was appear Continental.  She finished with the lead.  “Chang gives you coin back?”  She asked Whipple.

“A shilling on every guinea.”  Whipple said with a shrug and Lady Cynthia gave her a rare smile before applying her blush.

“There are Cretan refugees in London Whipple.” Lady Cynthia was serious again.  “I want you out front.  If you see miscreants gathering send word inside at once and summon the guard.”  She reached for her family seal and handed it to Whipple.  With the seal Whipple would be taken serious by any Guardsman who would otherwise see her off to the pound.  Whipple tucked it into her belt.  Lady Cynthia took one last look at herself in the mirror, raven hair and pale skinned.  Her lashes were thick and long, all that remained.  She reached for a cherry from a bowl on her vanity and bit into it before running the broken fruit around her lips, painting them red.  “Ok”, she said to herself with her game face on.  “Show time.”

They travelled by horse rather than steamer.  Though it was inevitable their whites would become coated in the ash of London.  Travelling by horse at least meant they would arrive for the ball with their whites, white.  Doctor Clay stepped out first.  She had forgone the gown and instead for pants shed had tailored for her long legs and shapely rear.  They were tight, and if she were interested in them, the more physical men at these events would have courted her.  But the Doctor courted controversy and it had become a dare for the virginal courtiers to approach the open woman lover.  A couple of glasses of wine usually saw one of them whisked away to the cloak room for a forbidden kiss.  The young ones sought to be talked about and Doctor Clay gave them their place as gossip.

Lady Cynthia followed out of cab.  She wore a brown dress of frills of the time and fashion, but the leather corset and straps worked into the dress created an image of armour.  Lady Cynthia was a woman of action.  She stepped out into the cobbled street on her heeled boots that ran up and concealed themselves beneath her dress.  Before she started her performance she turned back and nodded to Whipple to commence her surveillance.  Doctor Clay was waiting and after the slight delay, the pair forwarded on to the Grand Victorian cold stone building with its gargoyles and lights from a thousand oil lamps.  Past the enormous doorway and the red velvet rope Lady Cynthia took a quick glance around the room.  “I want to check they followed my instructions for display.”  She looked back at the Doctor having excused herself.  She neednt.

“Oh Plinktons peddling again.”  Past the entrance in the open hall stood a thin white haired man in a navy uniform.  Plinkton was retired Royal Navy and spent his time tinkering away at Galvanic cells.  He crashed any Scientific or Natural History gathering with his latest version encouraging guests to come and touch the copper wires to receive a small shock.  He boasted one day it would replace steam as the powerhouse behind the empire.  Doctor Clay pulled back the sleeve of her shirt.  From a ring on her finger a wire ran to a clockwork contraption strapped to her wrist.  When released and the spring unwound and a magnet would rotate within a ring of metal.  Doctor clay was the first to admit she did not understand this mysterious electricity, all she knew after the spring had unwound any person she touched dropped like a brick.  This was the power of electricity, not making maidens squeal with delight at a mild zap.

Lady Cynthia saw the look in Doctor Clays eyes.  “Oh dont.”

“Hes crashing your party.”

“Well… Just a handshake then.”  Lady Cynthia smiled and walked off to inspect the hall.  Only a few quests had arrived and as she checked the station of the recovered artefacts she saw her man Lenny Price ready with his photographer.  He was to hold of taking the photo until Lady Cynthia stood ahead the Society presenting the Alter of Dionysus.  She headed to the engraved plates shed arranged by telegram to have made to make sure they all described her prizes with her version of Greek history the Germans tried so hard to ruin it.

“You look lovely tonight.”

Lady Cynthia did not turn as she read the plagues, she smiled faintly, but not so as could be detected from the Gentlemans angle.  “Oliver A. Dully.  You have no interest in Greek History.”

“I have an interest in you.”

Lady Cynthia turned to the black tuxedo and top hat of the young English aristocrat.  Oliver A. Dully, was Archduke Oliver A. Dully.  Royalty, but too far down the line to ever sit on a chair youd have to bow to.  He was trim and fit and rich and charming - sought after.  She looked at the pointed stubbled of hair coming from above his lip.  “Why are you growing that ridiculous moustache?”  The question was cut short by a yelp from across the hall.  Doctor Clay had just extended her hand for Plinkton to shake.  He was convulsing on the floor.  As Lady Cynthia and Oliver both looked away from the scene there eyes met.  Oliver saw a moment, but Lady Cynthia saw a complication on her big night.

“You still havent given me an answer?”  Hed proposed before shed left for Greece.  Lady Cynthia had dismissed it with details of her expedition.  Oliver had just seen that as a postponement to the real answer.

“Oh Ollie.”  Cynthia reached forward and cupped his check in her hand.  “All I see when I look at you is the little boy who threw tantrums when I bested him in fencing practise.  I love that boy, but…”

Archduke Oliver A. Dully looked wounded, but as a gentlemen he inhaled it in to composure.  “Well with that matter out of the way”, his speech was an octave higher, choking back emotion.  “May I present to you a man who is interested in Greek history?”  He turned and waved his hands.  A man Lady Cynthia had not seen before at the Society stepped forward into view.  “This is Bishop Alonzo C. Kashan of Greece.”

Lady Cynthia became defensive under the veil of a polite smile.

“Good evening to you dear Lady Cynthia Chadwicke Bonney.”  He reached for her hand and lifted it to kiss.  “It is such a privilege to meet the beautiful woman who braved war-torn Greece to retrieve these sacred artefacts for safe-keeping.”

He doesnt appear to be a threat.  “Bishop Alonzo, history should be immortal.”  Lady Cynthia pretended to blush.  She never pretended to blush.  She was nervous.  Rejecting Olivers proposal was one thing, but a Greek visitor who could tell the exaggerations of her stories was something shed rather not have circulated.

“And for some of our most important relics, you have made it so.  Tell me, what do you know of the Alter of Dionysus?”  He was animated as he spoke.  Fifty, or a spry sixty Lady Cynthia couldnt tell.  She also didnt know what his business was, or how he had attached himself to Oliver, and more importantly how a protestant Greek priest existed in the first place.

“I know the history of Dionysus; the twin mythologies of his origins; his association with intoxication and hedonism; his death and resurrection.”

“Yes his resurrection as Dionysus Bacchus… What do you know of this?”  No doubt the Archbishop was a passionate preacher.  Even in this virgin encounter he spoke baldly and with energy.  He seemed excited by Lady Cynthias knowledge, but at the same time wanted to educate her more.  His expertise exceeded her own and Lady Cynthia was at a disadvantage.  Hers was a commercial enterprise.  Going forth, seeking adventure and claiming prizes for the empire.

“Archbishop.  I would love to talk more, but I am afraid I must entertain our guests.”  Gentlemen and ladies were wandering in.  They were the aristocracy, the thinkers, and the patriots.  The Archbishop saw he was out numbered.

“Perhaps we can discuss this more later?”  He held up his hand as Lady Cynthia took her leave.  She loved academics, she really did just not experts in the field she was delivering a dissertation on in front of her backers.

“Of course Archbishop.  Seek me out.”


The Villain


“The Archduke seemed melancholy”, Doctor Clay took a seat next to her Lady on the sidelines of the hall.  The hall was almost entirely vacant save a few interlopers finalizing their games of esteem.  Debates on deconstructionism of the worship a long dead Greek God from present evidence to ancient representation would continue until the lamps were extinguished.  Fashion and connections played only a part to the Royal Society.  Each member either pursued the presenters words with eagerness, as though they were cutting edge (usually were), or presented their own direction to the findings.  Debates masked by civility carried on for hours.  The Archduke had avoided Lady Cynthia all evening.  His pride was wounded, but Lady Cynthia knew his affection for her would draw him back.  Whilst Ollie had avoided her, she had avoided Bishop Alonzo.  He circled those gathering her trying to step into the closely netted circles as if to add something.  Lady Cynthia exploited the mans manners to see he never caught her alone, always walking away from him so he would be forced to affront her.  A visitor to her lands he never summed the courage.

“I told you he proposed.”  She had mentioned it once, but was not disappointed by Doctor Clay not making the deduction.  Her mind was better suited to tinkering away at inventions and modifications for hours in her lab.

“I would have thought that would have been a tempting offer you are Society.  Climbing the ranks, your favourable word making men, inspiring women to assert their minds and will…”

“I have no intention of retiring.”  Lady Cynthia rose.  She was tired.  They had only just arrived back to a whirlwind exhibition and shed been on her feet all night.  “I might go to the bathhouse.”  Her desire was obvious.  The small bath she had taken upon returning to her residence was to become presentable for this evening.  Only at the Hampstead Bathhouse could she swim, relax and collect her mind.”

“Itll be vacant tonight.  Youll have it all to yourself.”  The Doctors observation was her excusing herself from any invitation.  Doctor Clay was the only woman Lady Cynthia could be open with.   Whipple had her confidence, but inclusion into her inner thoughts was being reserved for when Whipple was no longer a flight risk.  As of yet Whipple hadnt retired from the streets, she could return to them anytime she desired.  The womans bathhouse was a common haunt of Doctor Clays.  There she would see the young Socialites bloom in their lithe forms soft skin pink from the water heated by boilers; modesty and its absence all available to her eyes.  Her distinction amongst the desires of women could be indulged, but only at crowded times when her stares were hidden amongst the crowds.

“I imagine youll be off to a house of ill repute.”  Lady Cynthia did not judge.  Doctor Clay had not succeeded in luring a single lass to the cloak room.

“I spent all my silver paying your tips.”  The Doctor extended her hand.  Lady Cynthia produced two gold coins and handed them to her comrade and friend. 

“Make them earn it.”  It was a playful order.  As Doctor Clay rose and started away Lady Cynthia called out after her.  “Tell Whipple her watch is over.  Have her meet me at the Bathhouse in three hours.”

Doctor Clay did not turn around, but raised her hand signalling she would comply and made off to reacquaint herself with the French girls at Madame Jacquelines Burlesque and their magic tongues.

At this late hour there was only one attendant.  The man, left to see the cleaners out and ensure security, was alerted from his desk by Lady Cynthia gently tapping on the Venetian glass doors.  As he opened them with subservient curiosity he smiled.  Lady Cynthias reputation was free advertising for the bathhouse she was the type of clientele they did backflips for.  Several women of note came to be in association with the famous adventurer alone.  His concerns were not with her wishing to bath in the pools, but more that there were no female attendants to offer service to her.  A silver coin, for his concern, and polite reassurance she desired peace at this late hour saw the attendant leave his gatepost to fetch her towels.  The boilers ran all hours and at a Fahrenheit of seventy-five.  Clay had even tinkered with the valves saved the establishment fifteen percent on coal.  As the attendant left Lady Cynthia unclipped the brass buttons of her leather waistcoat allowing the interwoven dress to relax.  Her girdle had another of Doctor Clays inventions.  It allowed easy removal, though she would require assistance to put it back on.  Until Whipple appear in three hours time Lady Cynthia had the pool and sauna to herself.  All facades could be dropped.  She did not have to be the woman of action who dispatched assassins without disrupting her hairstyle.  She could be vulnerable she could meditate on her next move.  The resistance of the dress slipped away gave her a moments smile.  Broad hips, muscular buttocks and voluptuous breasts gave her a moments pride.  She had to be modest when complimented, but to herself she could be true.  She was made for sin, yet her status meant it could not be sought without scandal.  Naked, she dipped her tow in the pool.  Steam rose gently from the water.  She descended the step and submerged herself.

For a time she sat in the shallows thinking of the poor man who had tried to claim her.  It was an indulgence of one so independent, but ultimately she turned her mind back to her relaxation.  Maybe back to Egypt travel further down the Nile to Nubia.  No one knew of Nubia, it would be a sensation.  In the deeper end she turned and dance; dropped under and just drifted in the warmth; finally, at a level she could stand on tip-toes she let her hands wander down to her virtue.  She held her balance as her nails, short for adventuring, allowed her finger tips to glide over and in her sex.  She closed her eyes and tilted her head up.  As the sensation called for rhythm she went of her heals and submerged, her sexual excitement demanding breathe.  When its discomfort became too great she held a moment longer, then came up for air.  She was vulnerable in a public place and the pleasure was dangerous.  The pool was so open anyone could walk in at any moment and catch her in the act.  Imagine the rumours the gossip would be scandalous.

“I thought you a lady.”

Lady Cynthia startled.  Her hand darted away from her sex and she lunged back away from the voice in the water.  Gliding through unco-ordinated alarm she drifted to a shallower floor of the incline.  Now she stood one hand covered her breasts the over came back down over her sex hiding the mound of dark pubic hairs from the figure at the end of the pool.  Her embarrassment had forced her to be seen ill composed, but the confidence of the man in the moment of her vulnerability in repose allowed the anger to come quickly.  “How dare you!”

Bishop Alonzo C. Kashan stood boldly between the steps out of the pool and Lady Cynthias garments.  To her credit her immediate thought was how to get to the pistol from her girder rather than how to escape the forced modesty.  He did not appear to be the man so bent on maintaining manners in a foreign land anymore.  The spry passion of his voice had morphed into the confidence of a man who had exercised force with effectiveness.  He was either a fool, or had an angle beyond catching Lady Cynthia in her starkest form.  “You shouldnt have avoided me tonight.”

“Given your comfortability with the nature of this meeting Bishop, Id say every Lady should avoid your company.”  She had regained her poise.  A word to Lenny Price at the Herald would see the story of her assault at the Hampstead Bathhouse become yet another tale of the resourcefulness.  Just a matter of overcoming the situation.

“I am comfortable Lady Cynthia Bonney, for you are alone and unarmed.”  He stepped back and rifled through Lady Cynthias clothes until he found the pistol.  He waved it for her to see before tossing it in the pool.

This complicates things.

“I always find it best not to advertise how you are going to vanquish someone.  Boasting a hidden pistol to the papers does lead to the eventuality that it is no longer a hidden pistol.”  The Bishop waved his hands at the obvious, his tone condescending and arrogant.

“Whilst we are stating the obvious… a Protestant Greek Bishop? Really!  I dont think such a thing exists.”  She raised her eyebrow as if hers was not the only oversight.

“But the Archduke has such a weakness for the church hierarchy, and when he heard of my expertise on The Alter of Dionysus… I was a fellow to win your affection with.”  The Bishop summoned her with his fingers.  “Come out of the water please.”

Lady Cynthia remained stationary.  “I will not.”

“Your nudity will mean nothing in mere hours.”  The Bishop thought her concerned with modesty.  True she was, but to be ordered by a man so brash to her was insult.

“And what exactly are you going to do dear Bishop?  Jump in a poll and chase a naked woman around?”  Lady Cynthias eyes were narrow with anger now.  True being caught off guard like this would be an embarrassment, but she knew only too well it had to be balanced with the greater game of security.

Bishop Alonzo replied by pulling a Brescia pistol from beneath his cope and quickly fired without delay.  A jet of Crimson spurted from Lady Cynthias shoulder and her defiant stance of modesty was broken as she flew, cruciform back into the warm water.  After only a moment her right arm grasped her crippled left shoulder and for sake of breathing she regain her footing.  Modesty forgotten she looked at the Bishop.  The wound did not yet hurt, as shot wounds usually didnt, but the sudden realisation of the lethal and unknown intent of the Bishop suddenly shook the foundation of her reputation.  “The warmth of the water has relaxed your capillaries.  You can either stand there bleeding into the tepid water until you faint from blood loss, or you can come out.  I leave the choice to you.”  The Bishop commenced the process of reloading the pistol.  As if in after thought he added, “Oh you neednt worry about the clerk raising an alarm.  Im afraid necessity for success saw him off.”

Lady Cynthia breathed heavy and didnt allow her mind to think back to the polite man on the night shift.  The pressure she placed on her shoulder did not dam the steady trickle of blood into the crystal waters of the pool.  Already a cloud of pink had formed around her.

Pistol reloaded the Bishop went about straightening Lady Cynthias dress, as if modesty was a reward for compliance with his wishes.  As his back was turned, and no longer having the advantage of sheltering in the pool she slowly walked to the steps and her pale soft skin, glistening wet, cautiously walked out of the pool and towards the Bishop.

He smiled as if she was attending his fictitious church and extended her garments to her.  Not being able to take her hand of the wound, her tender left arm reached for them.  As her weakened fingers clasped the linen the Bishop exploded into the action of another betrayal.  The pistol flipped in his hand and he rounded the butt in a hook.  It struck Lady Cynthia on the jaw.  Her mandible jutted up into her skull and the boxers trick of taking balance sent her legs to buckle.  She lay sprawl, bleeding.  As her eyes fought to focus the Bishop manically stepped over her and hunched down.  His face was furious and contorted and his hands grasped her neck and squeezed.  “Not enough to see you off my dear Lady”, he snarled as he choked her.

Lady Cynthias naked legs flailed under him defeated.  She reached up with her good arm and pulled on the crucifix around his neck.  The Bishop lifted her neck up and through it down again.  With his lurch the chain on his crucifix broke and Lady Cynthias hand dropped it for defence.

“Just enough to take you away.”

Red dots appeared, the light became dim.  Gasping for air, Lady Cynthias eyes rolled back in her head as she slipped into unconsciousness.  It granted her clemency from the very carnal gaze of the Bishop as he admired the flesh of her naked curves with a carnivores intent.


The Reveal.


In the first instance her eyes fluttered open with the beauty that had made her a celebrity beyond the propaganda of her deeds.  The beauty was only enhanced by the two large breasts hanging down, drawing attention to her nudity.  The cloth gag jammed in her swollen and bruised jaw told immediately of her distress.  The now present tenderness of her shoulder was the reminder, but it only hurt was because her arms were wrenched up above her head.  She hung suspended from a rope used to carry an oil lamp.  Her left leg was in contact with the marble floor as she stood on tip toe in front of the Alter of Dionysus.  She was back at the Royal Society Hall.

Her right leg was extended out in front of her between her body and the Alter.  It was encased in a boiler with rubber and latches to encompass her leg entirely.  From the boiler a pipe, sealed with a valve lead down to a small coal furnace with its well of water above.  What would happen when the valve was opened?

The man with the Alias of Bishop Alonzo C. Kashan stood admiring his damsel of such a formidable reputation, so easily won.  “What you do not know about; what your entrepreneurial enterprise was oblivious too, is that when Dionysus died from his fathers hand and was resurrected he became Dionysus Bacchus.”  He no longer wore the garbs of a protestant priest.  His attire was like a Chinamans a dark slim fitting suit with buttons joined by threads on both breasts.  He stepped towards Lady Cynthia, cocky in his conquest.  “Children and virgins were sacrificed to Dionysus Bacchus, and the Cult of the Bacchae was formed.  The sacrifices were burnt and any who ate the flesh of the victims became a werewolf and was forced to live in the caves behind the alter.”  He was close enough to reach forwards towards the exposed breasts.  Lady Cynthia cringed.  Such a gentle violation in such a vulnerable position spoke of his interest as a mere introduction into abuse.

Alonzo smiled at her fear.  She was conquered.

“Anyone mortal who entered those caves and came out was said to cast no shadow, and would die within a year.”  He ran his hand over her breast, past her ribs to her buttock.  Lady Cynthia whimpered and a tear escaped.  His hand continued around her buttock.  He moved in close, her escape impossible by her bondage and the heavy contraption her leg was captured in.  His finger curved her buttock into her crack.  Lady Cynthias whimpered became a cry of success as the Lady endured her sphincter being penetrated by his finger.  At this most uncomfortable moment for a Lady he whispered.  “I am of the Cult of the Bacchae, and you entered our cave, and you stole our alter.”  His other hand moved to the valve on the pipe.  Already Lady Cynthia knew what would happen the steam from the well would rise and surround her leg, cooking it.  “There is too much of you to eat at the alter for one person… so Im going to have to eat you piece by piece.”  He turned the valve.  Steam erupted into the sealed boiler around her leg.

Lady Cynthia Screamed through her gag and began to convulse.

Alonzo replied in cruel affection.  He moved behind her and embraced her as her leg cooked.  He groped her breasts and felt her abdomen convulse.  Lady Cynthia lost the ability to think.  Her left leg lost its traction, but the weight on the wound of her shoulder was nothing to the overpowering rape of her nervous system that flooded up.  As her body headed into shock she relaxed in murmuring screams of delirium.  All the time Alonzo was shushing her as if she was a baby crying because it was tired.

“Dont you see”, he whispered as trauma bombarded Lady Cynthia.  “This is the solution.”  He kissed her on her cheek and tasted her tears.  “You are the sacrifice to Dionysus Bacchus.”  Lady Cynthia kept a shred of her wits, and Alonzo was lashing her mind as it clung on as it always did through peril.  “Your flesh will elevate men and make me a Werewolf”.  The pain had subsided now.  The efficiency of steam under pressure saw that her nerves were burnt out.  It probably didnt need to delay any longer.  The flash burn had had cooked her in an instance.  “You will die within a year of entering the cave.” 

Lady Cynthia, no longer driven by her bodies attempt at preservation slumped into barely conscious delirium.

“And you are only the first.”  He reach forward and turned back the valve, shutting off the steam.  “Your friends, the Dyke Doctor and the miscreant urchin will follow.”  He undid the latches on the boiler and mist escaped out the broken seal.  “All here, before the alter of Dionysus.”  He opened the boiler and revealed the cooked flesh within.

The skin had separated, the layer of dermal fat dissolved.  As he had open the boiler it had struck to the roof and peeled away revealed seared flesh.  It was grey, and smelt of veal.  Alonzo mouth opened salivating.  As he lifted the rest of the cooking apparatus away Lady Cynthia felt the weight of her leg drop, though she could not feel her leg.

He must have thought it safe his victim beyond any words other than soft pleas, for Alonzo removed Lady Cynthias gag before loosening the rope that suspended her.  “Come, come my dear Lady.  This is but our first night dining together, you must have something to say?”  He bent over and picked her up, carrying her to the Alter.

In the fever of her trauma the cold marble alter soothed her despite the peril.  Lady Cynthia felt her body being positioned for dining, Alonzo even bring one of the guilded and red felt chairs to sit on while he ate.  She breathed the air deeply, her mind permitted a thread to try and drag up a solution.

“Tomorrow we shall have the other leg.  Then we will move onto your arm… I think I shall take the wounded one first.”  Alonzo was musing, but only for a moment.  Her opened his mouth and bared his teeth to take his first bite.

“A moment…”  It was all she could manage to say.

Alonzo paused, his flawless victory tested… perhaps.  Lady Cynthia knew the possibility she would beg would be too great for the cultist to resist.

Her mind gave her a glimmer of hope through the haze.  She was a sacrifice… what if there was no sacrifice?  “Is there a…”  She could barely speak, but if anything this was a delay.  Hope demanded a delay.  “Is there a prayer to Dionysus Bacchus to speak?”

The mania in Alonzos eyes that had been present as he strangled her returned.  Lady Cynthia had pointed out the lack of ceremony, it was the violence and the victim he sought.  “A prayer?!”

“If I am to be offered… teach me the words.”  How long is it?  How much time will it buy me?

Alonzos face curled in a snarl, called out on his own impiety.  He delivered.  Whatever delusion had led him to the Cult of the Bacchae he had learnt their teachings.  He chanted it once and stared at Lady Cynthia.  No further indignity could be done to her, but his gaze told he would try if she trifled with him.

Lady Cynthia deliberately faulted once and knew that was all she could get away with.  Her attempt at delay had seemingly backfired and she repeated the words again, this time correctly.  She looked at Alonzo.  A puritan would have given here some respect.

“Now repeat those words whilst I feast… stop, and when it comes time to dine on your sex I will enjoy it raw.”  He waited.  Again pausing as long as she could Lady Cynthia stared back.  Whatever failure of rescue there was now, she had regained her composure.  She started to speak the words, her voice shrilling an octave higher as Alonzo bit down on her thigh.  The cannibals dinner had begun.


The Resolution


Lady Cynthia stared up at the ceiling.  The delay tactics of chant the prayer to Dionysus Bacchus saved her the ordeal of hearing the noises, the squelching and gnawing sounds of her flesh being devoured.  Peoples faces flooded into her mind; those of her parents, taken whilst she was so young; Doctor Lydia Gallaher Clay, the woman who taught her the principles of emancipation of women whilst she watched her tinkering with gadgets for hours; P. L. Whipple, the urchin who she depended on who herself had never depended on anyone… Ollie, not a bad man if one really did have to settle down.  Lady Cynthia stopped the chant of her demise.

Is this it?  The thought struck her as almost comical.  Throughout her career, all the dangers she had faced, was this the one to actually make her want to settle down?

Alonzo was aggravated by her sudden halt.  He stopped eating and reached for her shoulder.  Her leg may have been numb, but the bullet wound was still very much raw.  Lady Cynthia cried out again.  The rhythm of the prayer had been like a respite from the horror and her senses had returned to her.  With them they bought the battle of wills between her and her consumer.

“Do not stop.”  He ran his hand over her belly and tapped his index finger on her clitoris, as if reminding her of his threat to eat it raw.

“Oh shut up and get back to eating me you pagan Cretan.”  Lady Cynthia broke eye contact, no longer afraid of Alonzo and his ritual murder of her.  She looked up at the ceiling.  The concept of settling down and marrying had turned her brain around.  Lady Cynthia Chadwicke Bonney does not settle down!  She frowned and rebuilt her resolve.  Being eaten by a cannibal cult now thats news worthy, and strangely fitting.

Alonzo started to heave in anger.  There was no longer a sacrifice.  All the pieces were in place; the Alter; the trespassers of the caves; the victim to be consumed, but it was no longer in honour of Dionysus Bacchus.  Lady Cynthia had turned the tables.  Her demise would feed her myth, not his Gods.  As if to strike out at her he feverishly gnawed at her calf.

“Go ahead.  Eat the whole thing, its dead anyway.”  Lady Cynthia was considerable calm given she was being eaten to teach her a lesson.  “I mean, you broke in tonight, but there will be tomorrow night… and the night after.  And its not just me youll be eating.  You have to get Doctor Clay and Whipple too.  Good luck trying to catch the last one.  With her Mistresses gone shell just disappear into the streets.”

Alonzo bashed his fist on the Alter in rage.

“You are, to use a word frequently mistaken as French, fucked”.  Lady hood aside, it was apt usage.

Alonzo flew out of his seat and brought his face right up to Lady Cynthias.  “When Im not eating you Ill spend every waking moment bringing pain to your body.”

“Knock yourself out.  No one will know I screamed.”

“I slash your face and deform your figure.”

“Its not like you can show anyone.”  Lady Cynthia smiled.

As Alonzo reached back and through the chair across the empty hall voices came from the main entrance.  They were dulled, but familiar and easily discernable.

“Its unlikely Whipple, but well check it out.”  Doctor Clays voice grew louder as the one of the double doors between the foyer and the hall opened and the figures of Doctor Clay and Whipple walked through into the scene of murderous depravity. 

Whipple startled and immediately reflexed to a position halfway in and out of the doorway.  The little knife carried up her sleeve was already in her hand.  Doctor Clay was slower to react.  From her hand hung the chain with the pseudo Bishop Alonzo C. Kashans crucifix hung.  Whipple had come to the bathhouse, seen the blood in the pool and the garments left behind, found the crucifix and alerted the good Doctor.  The reason for them coming to the Royal Society Hall to investigate was a matter of elimination who had they pissed off?  What have they done lately?

Alonzo was caught off guard Whipple committed to entering the room and Doctor Clay charged.  Despite their advance Alonzo had time to draw his pistol.  He was shaken by his anger towards Lady Cynthia and his hands shock.  Whipple was circling around being waif and lacking muscle she would come in to the side as the Doctor took him head on.

Alonzo clocked his pistol and pointed dead at the Doctor.  She froze, but Whipple took being out of the firing line to increase the angle Alonzo would have to arch the pistol.  “In the name of Dionysus Bacchus I command you to halt!”  He screamed the words.  As Lady Cynthia looked at him now he no longer seemed formidable.  Outnumbered he was just a coward.

“Steady Bishop.”  Doctor Clay held up her hands and took a tentative step forward.

Alonzo was panicked.  He would most likely fire, hopefully miss.  The best chance of resolution was to have him flee so they could recover their fallen colleague.  “You are all just meat.”  He spat the words and turned the pistol to Whipple to stop her circling.  It was Whipples turn to freeze.  She held her hands up, the blade visible a second ago tucked out of sight, but so quickly drawn.  Doctor Clay took another step forward, her hands still up.  The pistol bolted back to her and again she froze.  It dawned on Alonzo he had only two choices; to fire and take his chances with the other; or to flee.  He took his first step backwards.  Whipple stopped circling and stepped forward and the Doctor continued on her course.

“Wretched sluts.”  Alonzo wasnt going to depart without gifting insult.  “A poser who steels others glory.  A Dyke who claims others inventions, and a… he waved his hand to Whipple seemingly lost for words.  “Ill eat you all.”  Hed back up to the Alter.

Lady Cynthia reached for the arm carrying the pistol.  Her movements were weak, but at the deflection of the pistol the woman and girl charged.  Doctor Clay reached him first.  She extended her palm, the copper ring caught Alonzo on the neck and he dropped down to the feet of the Alter, the pistol discharging as he convulsed.  Whipple followed through.  As she reached the man falling to the floor the blade came up and she stabbed it down into his chest.  There was a gasp and his eyes widened, then… just a stare.

There was a moment to breathe.  Lady Cynthia slumped back on the Alter.  Doctor Clay immediately examined her.  “Whipple?”

Whipple was trying to pull her blade from Alonzos heart.  It had lodged between two ribs and she lifted his lifeless body in jerks.

“Whipple.  Fetch the guard then get a steamer or cab.  Send them hear then take another to the hospital and tell them well need their best surgeon.”  Doctor Clay had made the obvious assessment.  The leg was dead, it had to be removed before any rot could spread.

With a final pull Whipple dislodged her blade.  Strangely she never took in the scene perhaps that is how she always had the freedom to move on.  She ran to the exit concealing her blade as she left.  Lady Cynthia and Doctor Clay were left alone with the Alter and the consequences of the madman.

“This is an inconvenience.”  Lady Cynthia said as if to hold of Doctor Clays proclaiming the end.

“Cynthia.”  The Doctor dropped titles.

“We never speak of it Lydia.”


“Never!”  Lady Cynthia relaxed and started taking deep breathes.  She knew she had lost her leg.  Lost her career.  It was over.  The silence from Doctor Clay made her open her eyes from her impending depression.  Doctor Clay was examining the wound.

“No!”  Lady Cynthia said, knowing her friends mind.

“Cant I just try…”

“Lydia, you are not going to taste me.”

Doctor Clay sighed and checked her benefactors pulse.  The benefit to science would be immeasurable.


The End


“Why are there all these trinkets in my Grandmothers crystal bowl?”  Lady Cynthias health had improved.  The amputation occurred just below the waist.  A small stub remained, but had healed over.  Lady Cynthia had been bed ridden for the better part of a month, but had taken to research.  It seemed as if she couldnt give up the life of adventure, even if it was only executed through scholarly pursuits.

Doctor Clay was tinkering on the other side of the room.  “Since the Archduke ordered the protective detail Whipple has taken to steeling from each guard assigned to her as she runs chores.  She leaves them there for you.  Whether theyre tributes or protests, youd have to ask Whipple.”  Doctor Clay wasnt letting Lady Cynthia see the final touches she was putting on her final invention before its unveiling.

As if on cue Whipple glided into the room with a copy of the Herald and presented it to Lady Cynthia.  She put down her book on Nubia and read it.  She frowned.

“What is it?”  Doctor Clay asked.

“Were no longer a headline.”  The coverage had been explosive.  An assault on one of Englands premier woman in the Halls of the Royal Society.  The press had gone into a frenzy.  Calls for England to send troops into war-torn Greece to eradicate the Cult of Bacchus once and for all had gone on for months.  Lady Cynthia had received many bedside visits from journalists.  It seemed the frenzy had finally died down.

Whipple reached forward and tapped a column on the front page indicating that they still got a mention.

“A column is not a headline Whipple.”  Lady Cynthia scolded.

Whipple shrugged it off and tossed an English Guardsmans brass button across the bed into the crystal bowl her latest acquisition.

“Done.”  Doctor clay announced. 

Lady Cynthia sat up as the Doctor carried a shiny prosthetic into view.  “What the hell is that?”

“This is your new leg.”  Doctor Clay held to prosthetic is full view.  “Sit-up.”

Lady Cynthia examined the metal leg with curiosity.  It was shaped like a human leg, but in the absence of skin, joints and gears could be seen.  Instead of muscles and ligaments it had cylinders and pistoled.  Doctor Clay folded a key out from the side and wound it.

“Clockwork Itll need to be wound every two hours or so”, The Doctor finished winding and the key folded back into the surface of the prosthetic.  “Give it a try.”

“Lady Cynthia shuffled to the edge of her bed.  Whipple stepped back and watched from the corner arms folded.  The Doctor slide the leg onto Lady Cynthias stub and started to attach the brace.  After doing so she rested a hand on Lady Cynthias good leg.  Her finger glided back and forth in an almost concealed caress.

Whipple turned away, pretending she didnt see, but turned back and the Doctor stepped back and extended her arms for Lady Cynthia to take.  The comrades held hands.  Doctor Clay pulled back and Lady Cynthia pulled herself up with the aid of her remaining leg.  Once standing The Doctor plugged in a series of tubes connected to a leather glove.  Lady Cynthia put on the glove.

“Its a new metal called Aluminium.  I used Plinktons Galvanic cells to extract it from clay.  Its brittle like Brass, but lighter.”  She smiled, happy with the fit.  “Slowly, curl your index finger, then uncurl it.”

Lady Cynthia complied.  The shiny leg rose at the knee as she curled and as she uncurled stomped back to the floor with force.  There was a loud thud and the room shook slightly.  Lady Cynthia smiled and looked at Doctor Clay then Whipple.

“Itll take you some time to master… and I dare say youll only be firing a pistol with your right hand, but…”  Doctor Clay adopted a pose.

“…but it looks like were back in action.”  Lady Cynthia Chadwicke Bonney, Adventurer to the Court, smiled. 

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