He felt the weight of his body pulling on his wrists where they were chained to the wall in the dungeon of the ritter’s castle. His cheek rested against the clammy stone wall of the chamber. Still, though, the sweat was dripping down his brow and into his eyes. There was nothing he could do about that now.
Von Rostock had left him, saying he’d be back after refreshing himself.
If he stretched out his legs and perched on the balls of his feet, he could just manage to touch the cold, stone floor. He could only do this for a few moments, but it was great relief to his wrists when he did. And he could pull a bit away from the wall. The rough surface of the wall chafed him in his most tender spot when he wasn’t pulled away from the surface.
It embarrassed him, but he couldn’t help it. The ritter had laughed. Despite what the knight, the liege of Rostock, Mecklenburg, was doing to him, Peer was hard. No, he had to be honest, it was because of what the ritter was doing to him. His body had betrayed him. The harder the ritter punished his body, the deeper he moaned and the harder his cock became--robbing him of any attempt he could make to pretend that he didn’t find the knight’s attentions sexually arousing.
That was the mortification. Peer had enjoyed it. Even now, he was begging in his mind for Von Rostock to come back and resume the attentions.
In his wildest dreams a year earlier, Peer Fischer would not have guessed he would be in this dungeon--or even in this city. He had been a simple fisherman--in a long line of them, as his surname implied--in the seaside village of Ribnitz-Damgarten at the mouth of the Recknitz River, in Mecklenburg. Mecklenburg was one of the German duchies--on the north coast of Germany, separated from Denmark by the body of water known as the Mechlenburger Burcht, that made up the newly formed German Confederation. It was one of the weakest members of the confederation because it had been wracked by strife and inner conflict following the invasion and occupation by the French a decade earlier in the War of the Fourth Coalition.
Ribnitz-Damgarten was under the sway of the Hanseatic city of Rostock, but it was located almost equidistant between Rostock and another Hanseatic city, Stralsund. And beyond Rostock was the independent imperial city of Lubeck.
All of this existed as the source of intrigue and complex political maneuvering, exacerbated by a cruel and ruthless ruler in Rostock, the Ritter Horst von Rostock, who had not outgrown the pleasure of engaging in the war with Napoleon’s armies and, indeed, existed to prepare for fighting and to fight. He also famously liked his sport--sport of the most exotic kinds.
Where this involved Peer Fischer was that, despite working in a vital occupation as a fisherman and living an isolated life in a small fishing village, he also had come of age to serve in the ritter’s armed forces. All men of a certain age were expected to serve, and, as liege of all people in the Rostock district of the Duchy of Mecklenburg, Ritter Horst von Rostock would have his due--in whatever respect he demanded it.
Peer had led a quiet life in Ribnitz-Damgarten, but not necessarily a happy one. He did love the fishing, but at the end of each evening he had to return to his home, where he lived with his parents and their parents as well in a cottage not large enough for them. Work was, as a matter of fact, heavenly in the few months before he was forcibly enlisted in the ritter’s army.
Peer’s father was a cruel man. He beat his wife and he beat his children, and, if the village had allowed it, he would have beaten his parents as well. When he was fishing with Peer, Peer felt the lash on his back almost continuously. The lashing didn’t cut too deeply--Peer’s father wasn’t about to disable his primary worker--but they were ever there. Peer came to expect them, almost, perversely, to seek them out to make him feel alive. Embarrassingly, as he came into his manhood, he found that the lashings also were arousing to him and could have been seen on the responses by his body if he had not concealed them.
He didn’t really understand the connection between the slight pain and pleasure until Peer had reached conscription age and his father had decided not to go to sea anymore and to let Peer and his two younger brothers take over the fishing boat and the responsibility for the family’s livelihood.
The two brothers of Peer were hardly old enough to go to sea when the ritter’s guard had come through the town and conscripted the demanded number of recruits, a tally that included Peer. The loss of Peer’s work at this time was devastating to the family’s prosperity, but the family would just have to survive somehow without him.
Peer never did take to the soldiering, but, as he had worked his body well as a fisherman and was fair of countenance, if not overly tall, and with a ready, shy smile, he had caught the ritter’s attention in the ranks, and soon found himself on the ritter’s own personal guard force. The life in this force was not too demanding--and, in fact, the guard members had to devise extra sports to keep themselves in fighting fettle.
One of the ritter’s favorite sports was wrestling. And because of his other pleasures, the sport took on elements not normally encountered in wrestling.
The ritter, himself, was a champion wrestler--at least the members of the guard made him so. In a match, the wrestlers would wrestle to exhaustion or until one could claim victory over the other by not only subjugating his spirit but by subjugating his body as well.
The wrestlers enjoyed their sport in the nude, and the mark of a victor was one who could encase his cock in the channel of the other and climax before the other could break the controlling hold.
The ritter loved to win, and, of course, his guard made sure that he did. But he also wanted at least the appearance of winning by right, so any wrestler who went up against him was either seasoned in the sport--or not seasoned at all and still a virgin to all things connected with the sport. This also was a pleasure the ritter enjoyed taking.
When Peer joined the guard, he most certainly wasn’t seasoned in the sport. And as much as the demands of fishing that had been laid upon him were, he was a virgin to all facets of the sexual, other than the unusual arousal he got from mild applications of the lash.
He lasted ten minutes with the ritter on the wrestling mat, with the rest of the well-picked guardsmen gathered around and cheering the sport on. Peer had the strength, but he didn’t have the technique and he didn’t have the holds. He had also been advised that he did not want to win a wrestling match with the ritter, who had no sense of humor whatsoever. Still, the pain of the initial entry up his channel of the ritter’s victory sword as Peer lay on his belly with his arms pinned behind his back and his legs entwined by those of the ritter prompted him to writhe and struggle, which the ritter enjoyed as he gained increased depth. Then with Peer moaning and groaning and, eventually, subsiding into grunts and sighs and the involuntary movement of his hips to aid in the plumbing of the depths, the ritter’s victory was complete. Satisfied and satiated, the ritter rose from the matting, patted Peer on the bare buttocks, and pronounced that he was well pleased with the initiation.
After that Peer was paired twice with a man nearer his age and size, Klaus Reuter, who had been a jeweler’s assistant before being conscripted. Klaus won both times--and took his victory both times. By now Peer was so resigned to it--and even catching on to the act enough--that the two frequently found themselves fucking in dark corners when they were able to manage it and even without the sham of sport.
As Peer became more acclimated to being in the Ritter’s guard, he also became bolder and more curious about the life in the castle. One afternoon his curiosity got the best of him. He was roaming down a corridor in the upper basement of the castle when he came upon a chamber where vast amounts of amber were set out on a wooden table, presumably for inventory.
Peer knew what amber was. The area of Rostock he came from was famous for mining it, but mere peasants, of course, weren’t permitted to have it. Any found went straight into the treasuries of the Ritter of Rostock and the Duke of Mecklenburg. But here, before him, lay several fortunes worth of it.
He didn’t actually move into the chamber and touch any of it, but he certainly had been thinking of doing so. So, when a couple of other members of the guard accosted him, he looked as guilty as any thief.
The humorless ritter was not amused--at first. He roared at Peer when the young man was brought before him, and, in his anger, he commanded that the Fischer be stripped and bent over a barrel with strong men on each side holding his arms out while the ritter gave him a lashing on his back.
Not far into the punishment, however, the ritter stopped and now laughed--because he saw that his lashings were causing Peer’s cock to harden and the young man to pant in an arousing mood well beyond pain.
This intrigued and aroused the ritter as well. So, that was how Peer Fischer came to be hung from chains by his wrists high on the wall of the castle dungeon and to have Ritter Horst von Rostock, also aroused now, standing behind him, working his own cock with one hand and flogging Peer with measured strokes with a whip held in the other hand.
After raising a bit of blood on Peer’s back, the ritter came in close, licked the wounds and, reaching through Peer’s spread legs, began to milk Peer’s cock. Peer moaned for him.
“You like that, ja?”
Peer didn’t answer. He just whimpered and wriggled his buttocks as the ritter started playing at his hole with the butt end of his whip.
“Ich sprach. Es ist gut, ja? Tell me. You like that, ja?”
“Ja,” Peer answered with a low sigh. He couldn’t fool the ritter; the ritter could feel in his grasp of Peer’s hard cock that this aroused him. In fact, to Peer’s surprise and embarrassment, he realized that he was aroused more by being bound to the wall than with the light flogging he had received. He’d had hints of this when the ritter and Klaus pinned him on the wrestling mat before taking him, but he hadn’t fully understood what was arousing him at the time.
“Then vielleicht--perhaps--you like this even more. Ja?”
“Ach, mein Got. Ach, Ja. Ja, ja, ja.” Peer cried out his painful pleasure as the ritter lifted the young man’s hips, set the tip of his cock between Peer’s buttocks cheeks, thrust . . . and kept on thrusting, up, up, up inside him. Opening, stretching, punishing, getting into a rhythm that made Peer cry out at each deep thrust and moan at each contraction, then thrusting his buttocks back, begging for the next thrust.
The ritter laughed when Peer ejaculated against the stone wall. And after he was finished, he slapped Peer on the buttocks and said he was off to watch a wrestling match with the guards and would be back to punish Peer again in the way that he seemed to be taking so much pleasure from.
The ritter gone to his other sport for the day, Peer hung his head and tried to regularize his breath, mortified that he was enjoying this.
He stiffened at the feel of a hand on his back and the coolness of a wet rag on his welts. He turned his head.
“Shhh, Nicht. No. Don’t. Don’t speak. They are all at the wrestling match, and I must be gone back to them before they realize I have left. I will free you. But then you will have to be a fugitive. You will have to escape beyond the reach of the ritter. He will be furious.”
Peer said no more. He let Klaus release him and then he stumbled to a sitting position on the ground and rubbed his wrists and worked out the stretched muscles in his shoulders and arms. When he looked up, Klaus was gone.
He stole out of the castle then, but in looking for clothes to put on his back and boots for his feet, he once again stumbled upon the forbidden chamber with the mounds of amber in it.
There are more fortunes here than the ritter needs, Peer thought. And he owes me for the sport.
When Peer left the castle walls, it was with a heavy sack of amber on his back.
He headed for Lubeck, the nearest jurisdiction not controlled by the ritter and a place where he could find a vessel sailing to someplace where he could change the amber into gold. There was no way for him to do it in Germany. Buyers could only deal with the ritter or the duke.
A cheap Lubeck inn on the evening before Peer was to leave on a vessel bound for England, as a crew member, was where Klaus found him.
“How did you find me?”
“Where else would you go?” Klaus said. “And the ritter and his guard will think on that too as soon as he realizes some of his amber is gone. You took that too, nicht wahr--not true?”
“Ja. But why are you here.”
“To go with you, if I can. I did not get to the wrestling before I realized that the ritter would know who freed you. So, we are both hunted men.”
“We will do our own hunting together then,” Peer said, with a smile.
* * * *
Half way across the Atlantic to the young United States, a country fresh from having repelled the English a second time, Peer and Klaus enjoyed a comfortable cabin thanks to Klaus’s talent in changing amber into gold in the jewelry markets of London. In this cabin, Peer learned that he enjoyed sex the most with his hands bound over his head to the brass slats in the headboard and his lover working diligently between his spread thighs.
“What can we do in the New World?” Klaus had asked when they were deciding what to invest their new fortune in.
“Well they do eat fish, I would guess,” Peer answered. “And there are women there, so there will always be the need for baubles. I will satisfy one with the boat we buy and you can satisfy the other with a shop we buy.”
“But where will be go? I hear about places like Boston and New York.”
“Too large for a proper fishing village,” Peer said. “We are Deutscher--Germans. I have asked where the Germans are going. Many are going to a place called Broad Bay, north of that big city named Boston. We keep with the Deutschers. We go to Broad Bay too.”
So, that’s where they headed when their ship landed in New York City.
And it was here that Peer Fischer bought his first fishing boat and Klaus Reuter opened his small jewelry shop.
One of Klaus’s first customers was a woman named Mary Geer, visiting friends from a small coastal harbor town south of Boston. Mary liked the jewelry Klaus had in his store. She liked even more the friend of Klaus, that handsome fisherman, Peer Fischer, and she timed her visits to the shop that Klaus and Peer lived above to the times she saw that Peer’s fishing boat was in the Broad Bay harbor.
Mary was a compassionate, steady, and resourceful woman. When Klaus took sick, rather than go back to her hometown of Shernhaven at the end of the summer, she stayed around to help out with Klaus’s shop. She was happy to do so. But it needed close attendance. Klaus was so ill that Peer could not bed with him when he came back from his fishing trips. But Peer was a lustful person now and he had his needs. Mary had her desires, and she was an open minded, resourceful woman.
When Klaus became extremely ill and bedridden, Mary, who was attentive to Klaus’s personal needs and to his shop, managed to have time left over to attend to Peer’s basic needs too.
Peer moved into Mary’s bed. And when Klaus died, Mary Geer and Peer were wed, the jewelry shop was sold--for a nice profit--and the wedded pair sailed south from Broad Bay to Mary’s town of Shernhaven, where Mary Fischer assured Peer there was room for another fishing company and where she had an old family home high on a bluff overlooking the town. She had it all to herself most of the time now, as her brother had moved the headquarters of the family construction business up to Boston. Here Mary opened a jewelry shop of her own.
* * * *
Peer delighted as he approached the mouth of Shernhaven harbor. It had all he could ask for. The newly completed Lower Head lighthouse on the cliff at the end of the spit nearly encircling the harbor was the best along the coast as of date and would be one that he could keep in view for most of the fishing he would do. The harbor itself was perfectly formed, with docks and a wharf to the south--with, it appeared, plenty of available slip space. He already was planning for more boats, and there was a shipyard right there, below his house, that could make whatever fishing boat he wanted. Klaus hadn’t had any heirs that Peer knew about and, anyway, the jewelry store had been purchased out of what Peer himself had stolen--ahem, taken as his due--from the castle of Ritter Horst van Rostock. So, Peer set out to double and then triple the size of his fishing venture almost as soon as he and his wife landed in Shernhaven.
Peer Fischer had worried about getting established and obtaining slip space and setting up a market for his fish. It had not been all that easy to do in Broad Bay. Shernhaven was an established town, settled by the English. And he was a foreigner. Surely the fishing industry here would be protective of those already here. But his wife, Mary, had told him not to worry about that. And from the moment she pointed for him to look where their house was, on the heights of the Upper Head, his worry began to dissipate.
Within days, he found confirmation that the Geer name--even when wedded to another--opened doors in Shernhaven. And within weeks he discovered that in the ocean beyond the mouth of the Shernhaven harbor, but within sight of the Lower Head lighthouse, all of the cod, haddock, pollack, tuna, and sea bass he could ever want nearly jumped into his boat. Within months he launched his second boat, built in the convenient and bustling shipyard inside the harbor and at the base of the Upper Head heights. He had been treated quite deferentially by old Alden Shern, the patriarch of the Shern Shipyard, which was quite heartening considering that Judge Shern was the town’s leading figure, and also quite attentively by the judge’s achingly handsome and dark and mysterious son, Adney. From everything that was going his way, Peer was in seventh heaven and on his way.
Peer wasn’t in ninth heaven yet, but he was so grateful for the blessing that had come into his life that he could be patient--and could be forgiving if life never fully gave him what he needed.
Mary was a dutiful and devoted wife, and a perfect and fecund mother. But Peer had been to the limits of certain sexual tastes. If he never had tasted them, he probably could have been fully content with Mary and his new life in Shernhaven. But he had tasted them.
He almost had subsided into “oh well” complacency when he overheard mention of the Landho tavern at the intersection of Hobart and Cole Streets--and suggestions of what might be obtained there.
He already had seen--and been fascinated by--the three strapping Semple sons who had arrested his attention when strolling through the newly named and landscaped Shern Park in the center of the town. They were so exotic and large and well-formed that he couldn’t avoid taking a second look at them and speculating on what could be. That they were as black as black could be only intrigued him more. He hadn’t seen anything like that back in Germany, and although he’s seen a few black slaves in Broad Bay, the Semple men didn’t act like slaves. They stood tall and proud and walked like they had superior manhood between their legs--which made Peer speculate that perhaps they did.
He sensed that Solomon Cole, who owned the banking institution recently opened in a building facing Shern Park, was one with him--secretly interested in more than a woman’s skirt. Cole had signaled as much to him a few times until it became obvious to him that both he and Peer were interested in the same sort of man. They lost direct sexual interest in each other then, but upon identifying a kindred spirit, Cole became a rich source of information, albeit obliquely provided, on the aspects of Shernhaven that few talked about.
Peer knew of no one else he could confide in even in indirect terms with less risk than Solomon Cole. He figured that he could innocently mention the Landho tavern and easily withdraw in feigned surprise if Cole told him bluntly that the upper rooms of the Landho provided exactly what Peer--nervously and with a great deal of guilt and embarrassment but also much pent up frustration--was looking for.
When Peer mentioned it while in the bank arranging transfer of the money for the boat near completion at the Shern Shipyard, Solomon Cole laughed and leaned across the desk at him, with perhaps a little leer in his eye, and whispered, “I would be pleased to take you there to see what it is for yourself. But I would think you would have no need for that.”
“No. You own it, you know.”
“Own it? Own what?”
“The Landho. Your wife, Mary, hasn’t told you? It’s just one of many Geer family holdings in the town. I assumed you knew--That Mary kept it for you because . . . it would pleasure you.”
After that he never looked at Mary the same way again. What did she know about the nature of the Landho tavern, he wondered? In fact, what had she known about him and Klaus when she had moved into the upper rooms of the jewelry store in Broad Bay? It was all too much for Peer to fathom--and there, of course, was no proper way for him to ask Mary. There were some things even a husband and wife--especially a husband and wife--didn’t discuss at the opening of the nineteenth century.
But after a year of Mary and just Mary and when she had birthed their first child, a son, and was so taken with motherhood that Peer could have told her that he was sailing to the moon and would be gone three weeks, she just would have smiled and wished him a safe journey, Peer built up the courage to enter the Landho tavern.
By then everyone in town knew who Peer Fischer was--and all of them had probably known that the Geers, the family he’d married into, owned the place when he hadn’t known it for so long.
So, there was not so much as a twitter when he went in. The bar room was crowded; the atmosphere was not just boisterous, it was downright bawdy; and those pushing the drinks and pulling men up the stairs by their hands were both female and male--and dressed skimpily and suggestively.
One of the Semple boys was tending bar, and Peer almost turned and walked back outside.
But he’d entered and everyone had seen him, so leaving at this point would only be both unsatisfying and a bit too late for him to pretend innocence to what went on between these walls.
After a few drinks, during which the Semple boy obviously wanted Peer to let him know exactly what his pleasure was, Peer nodded his head toward a big bruiser who was trying to convince a man to go upstairs with him. He looked like particularly rough trade and he was cradling a hand whip, which was just about all the statement of his wares that anyone would need.
Before he could do more than gesture, though, Peer felt a nudge at his elbow and he turned to see, in shock, that the younger Shern he had been dealing with at the shipyard, Adney, was now sitting beside him and looking very interested. He had leather wrists bands, tight-fitting shirt and trousers, and a thick chain around his neck.
“If that’s what you want, I can help you with that,” the young Shern whispered to Peer. “The walls here are rather thin, and that isn’t the best pleasure for here. I have someplace we could be more private.”
The “someplace” proved to be the loft of a livery stable, across from Solomon Cole’s bank. The stable was closed because the Geers had built a larger, much-better-outfitted stable next door to put the independent owner of this business out of business. The younger Shern had bought the building for a song.
His special den was in the loft area, with old hay bales cushioning the sound on the front and two side walls and heavy iron rings set at intervals along the back walls at different heights. Peer wasn’t tall, but there was a set positioned just within his grasp. The outfitting of Adney’s lofty retreat immediately reminded Peer of the ritter’s dungeon and caused him to respond in a way that made young Adney Shern laugh and run the strands of his horse whip lovingly through his hands. Peer already was naked and his interest in what Adney had in mind already was obvious to both of them.
Peer had never seen a small rubber ball on strappings such as Adney produced as he prodded Peer toward the back wall. But he soon learned what that was for.
Adney had Peer strung up in no time and did lip and tongue play between his buttocks cheeks that Peer had never experienced before and that was driving him crazy--until he learned that the rubber ball in his mouth was for biting hard on as, though memories of the ritter and his dungeon came back to Peer, these memories made the ritter out to be a midget in contrast to Adney in the staff that was being shoved up inside him after he’d been flogged and almost exhausted from writhing.
Now he was in ninth heaven.