Chapter One - Arrival
Jack Dawkins crawled out of the surf on all fours,
shivering and exhausted. It felt to him as if his body
weighed four times more than usual. The crashing waves
could not seem to make up their mind whether to smash him
to this death against the shore or to pull him back into
the water and drown him. The wet linen of his shirt and
breeches seemed to be made of lead, causing his arms and
legs to quiver with the strain of supporting such an
His ship, the Triumphant, an English privateer , had
foundered just off the coast of Spain after a disastrous
encounter with two Spanish frigates. The Triumphant should
have been able to outrun the lumbering Spanish warships and
make a clean escape in the storm, except for a lucky hit on
the mainmast by a last desperate broadside from one of the
Spaniards. The storm had swept the three vessels apart, but
the de-masted Triumphant, with half of her rigging dragging
in the water, was soon swamped by the waves and sank.
Jack had watched many of his shipmates drown in the
freezing water, and others washed out of sight by the
storm. He had managed to grab hold of a half-empty grog
barrel which served to keep him afloat long enough to reach
the shore. Half frozen, battered and waterlogged, Jack
crawled up the rocky beach towards some bushes, where he
promptly collapsed and fell into a deep, exhausted sl**p.
When he awoke, Jack found that the storm had died out and a
somewhat wan sun shone through the clouds. His clothes had
dried to a degree, now being just unpleasantly damp rather
than waterlogged. Inspiration struck him and he turned to
scan the beach for his faithful grog barrel. His luck held
and he saw the barrel lying on its side just fifteen yards
from were he had come ashore. He spent another fifteen
minutes looking for a piece of rock which he could use to
remove the cork stopper. A careful sip of the raw rum
filled him with a sense of warmth and well being as the
alcohol flowed down his throat and into his empty belly.
Jack was no fool however, and he quickly realised that a
Spanish beach was no place to get d***k. Thumping the
stopper back into the hole, he rolled the barrel towards
the bushes where it was partially concealed.
Jack sat down on a rock and tried to take stock of his
situation. He was alone and stranded in enemy territory. If
he was captured he was likely to be handed over to the
Inquisition as a heretic. His first task therefore was to
find some clothing that would not mark him as an English
seaman. Since it was unlikely that any kindly Spaniard was
likely to just hand him fresh clothing, Jack knew that he
would have to steal what he needed. As he was a sailor and
not a thief by profession, he knew that he would need a
weapon in order to deal with any irate locals who objected
to him making free with their valuables. Once more he
searched the beach in hope that more items from his lost
ship had made it to shore. Indeed, a few minutes of
searching led him to a small chest floating at the
waterline. Making his way back to the bushes, he broke the
lock on the chest with another rock. Opening the chest,
Jack smiled for it seemed that fortune had smiled on him
this day. The chest had been part of the loot 'liberated'
from a Spanish merchantman by the Triumphant a week
earlier. It had belonged to the Spanish captain and held
the very things that Jack most needed at this time. A lace
shirt and embroidered breeches lay neatly folded at the
top. Under that Jack found a pouch of Spanish gold and
silver coins a belt with a fancy silver buckle and a small
eating dagger. Unfortunately, the chest did not contain
shoes which presented a problem.
Jack's parents had been of the landed gentry who had a high
regard for learning. Jack had therefore been accorded a
good education which included Latin and Spanish. His
parent's hopes for his future had been dashed when Jack had
accidentally killed the angry b*****r a girl that he had
been wooing. Facing the gallows if he stayed in his home
shire, Jack had fled to London and eventually signed on
with the Triumphant under Captain Moore.
The Captain and most of his shipmates were now feeding the
fishes, leaving Jack alone to face a hostile country full
of people who were his sworn enemies.
Jack undressed, thankfully shedding himself of his damp and
chilly clothes. Using the knife he lopped off his tarred
queue that would have identified him as a seaman, hacking
at his hair until it resembled the close cut that the
gentry habitually wore under their powdered wigs. Dressing
in the Spanish captain's finery, Jack decided on a plan.
Abandoning the chest, he concealed the dagger under his
shirt, tucked into the back of his waistband. He started
walking inland, hoping to find a farm or a road. Despite
the lack of shoes, Jack made good time and soon found
himself outside of a small town. It was just past midday
and he spied several people walking about, occupied with
their everyday affairs. He was about to start down the road
into the town when he saw a figure on a horse making its
way out of town in his direction. Jack stepped behind a
tree and waited. When he could hear the sound of the horses
hooves he peeked quickly around the bole of the tree. To
his surprise, the rider was dressed in the dark brown robes
a monk, his face hidden in the deep shadow of the cowl. It
rapidly became apparent that the monk had excellent vision
which did not seem to be hampered in any way by the cowl.
'Who is that?' cried the monk in a harsh and not very
humble voice. 'Are you a thief or highwayman that you must
hide behind the tree? Come out of there at once'
Jack hesitated for a moment, torn between the urge to run
and the need to obtain information and supplies. The fact
that the man was monk tipped his decision in favour of
boldness. After all, he thought, how dangerous can a lone
monk be? Straightening up, Jack moved out from his hiding
place to confront the monk.
'I am no thief good Father, but rather the victim of
thieves. I was waylaid on the road and robbed of my horse,
money and belonging. Why, the even stole my wig and my
shoes!' he shouted indignantly in his best Spanish.
'So, you are the victim of thieves. If that is so, you may
be assured that they will be apprehended and punished. His
majesty the King and the Church are most unforgiving of
those who break the laws of God and of Spain' replied the
monk, who was beginning to sound to Jack more like certain
Sheriffs of his acquaintance than a simple monk.
'God bless Holy Mother Church and His Majesty' cried Jack
Just then, the pealing of bells and the sound of cheers
came from the town. The monk smiled, although his thin,
compressed lips made it look more like a sneer. 'The good
townsfolk celebrate the victory of our glorious navy over
another vile English pirate ship'. Turning his attention
back to Jack, he frowned. 'You have a strange accent my
son. From where do you hail?'
Jack had thought about the problem of his distinctly non-
Spanish accent and had come up with a story of sorts. 'My
parents were traders who spent much time in Corsica, good
Father and sadly my Spanish has been much affected my
'That is strange' said the priest. 'I have had occasion to
visit Corsica on my journeys to Rome and your accent does
not resemble ... In fact, you sound like ...' his voice
tapered off. 'I think that you should come with me back to
town my son' he said, his eyes narrowed in suspicion.
'Nay good Father, there is no necessity for you to bother
yourself with my petty problems' protested Jack.
'The Office of the Holy Inquisition has time for all of
it's flock my son, especially when their souls may be in
Jack's bl**d turned to ice upon hearing the words of the
monk. As a Protestant Englishman, the Inquisition would
have him burning at the stake before the next dawn.
Suddenly, he saw the monk's eyes widen in realisation. The
monk jerked at his reins with the obvious intention of
turning his horse around and galloping back to the town for
Being a religious person and a good Christian, Jack would
normally have found it difficult to strike a priest.
However, the name of the Inquisition in England was a
symbol of terror and hatred rather than worship. Spurred
into action by that hated name, he punched the monk's horse
in the nose with all his strength. Startled, the horse
reared, jerking its head up and away from the mad human who
had assaulted it.
Unlike a trained cavalryman, the monk did not have the
skill to deal with this sudden rebellion by his horse and
tumbled backwards out of the saddle, landing on his head.
Jack heard a muffled 'crack' as the monk's neck snapped.
However, his first concern was to calm the panicked horse.
The a****l was well trained and did not run away from its
downed master, but it shied away from Jack's attempts to
grab the reins, eyeing the Englishman suspiciously. It took
Jack a full fifteen minutes to soothe the frightened a****l
and another ten before it would allow him to mount.
Jack made haste to drag the body of the dead monk off the
road and into the bushes. He then found a break in the
shrubbery through which he could lead the horse in order to
hide it from passers-by.
He then stripped the body of its robes and searched them
and the saddlebags. Apart from a bible written in Spanish,
a tinderbox, a stubby candle and a large pouch of gold
coins, the only other find of interest was a carefully
sealed letter, bearing the sigil of the Holy Inquisition.
On a hunch, Jack lit a small fire with the tinderbox,
heated his dagger, and lifted the wax seal off of the
letter. The contents were in both Latin and Spanish, being
a letter of appointment of Father Ruis Montero as the new
representative of the Office of the Holy Inquisition to the
town of Santa Isabella de la Mere, requiring all and sundry
to grant every assistance and support to Father Montero in
his quest to purge the world of heretics, sinners and
The words 'every assistance' and the name of the town,
which suggested that it was near to the sea, sparked an
outrageous idea in Jack's mind. He resealed the letter as
best he could and donned the robes of the deceased
Inquisitor, determined to find a way back to England.
Chapter Two - The Inquisitor
Two weeks later, after much backtracking and wandering
around the countryside, Jack found himself at last
approaching the town of Santa Isabella de la Mere. He had
not wasted the time though, as his accent was now much
improved through conversations with unsuspecting farmers
and other travelers that he had met on the road. He was
amazed how effective the threat of being tortured and
burned alive was as an incentive to study. He made a note
to introduce the method to the tutors and scholars in
England when he finally arrived home.
The day was bright and clear, and the temperature a bit
warmer than it would have been in England. The grass and
flowers looked the same and Jack could smell the familiar
smell of the sea as he stopped at the bank of a small
stream to water his horse and wash off the some of the
grime and dust that he had gathered from his travels. He
wanted to make a good impression on his new hosts. Watching
a lark fly across the cloudless blue sky and soothed
by the chuckling sound of the brook, Jack allowed himself
to hope that he would actually manage to cheat the fates
and escape from this land full of his sworn enemies. He
envisaged himself simply riding into the town and ordering
the locals to supply him with a boat, food and water. After
all, who would dare question the orders of the Holy
Inquisition? With that cheerful thought in mind, Jack
'his' horse. The a****l seemed to have forgiven him for the
punch in the nose and had served him faithfully during his
Pulling the cowl over his head, Jack rode sedately down the
road and into the town. To the far left he could see the
sun sparkling off of the waves. The sight of bobbing masts
and the cry of seagulls made him suddenly homesick. The
bell tower of the local church was the highest object in
the town, so he had no difficulty deciding which way to go.
Further inland Jack could make out the shapes of several
large villas, evidently the homes of the nobility, such as
there was in this obscure part of the Kingdom. Further up
the coast, the grey forbidding turrets of a small coastal
fort could just be seen, perched among several small hills
to the north of the town.
His approach had evidently been noticed, as there was a
small gathering of well dressed folk standing in front of
the church, including what looked like the town elders,
with several of them tending more towards ancient rather
than elderly. Remembering the sour expression of the late
Father Montero, Jack resisted the impulse to smile, keeping
his visage stiff and, he hoped, dignified.
A tall, dignified looking man sporting a goatee and a large
medallion stepped forward. A young boy ran out from the
side to hold Jack's horse as he dismounted. The man bowed
'Father Ruis, I am Juan Hernando Sanchez, Mayor of Santa
Isabella de la Mere. On behalf of all the God fearing
people of the town I welcome you' said the Mayor, bowing a
From the expressions on the faces of the welcoming
committee that Jack caught out of the corner of his eyes,
his presence was about as welcome as a visit by Sir Francis
Drake's fleet of privateers. Bowing in what he hoped was a
priestly manner, Jack drew the letter of introduction from
his sleeve and handed it the Mayor.
'The blessings of God be upon you all' said Jack. 'It is
good to see that the people hereabouts are strong in their
faith and in their devotion to the Church'
This pious statement produced a flurry of crossings and
murmured prayers amongst the crowd. Everyone started moving
towards the church, looking expectantly at Jack. He
realised with a sinking feeling that they might want him to
conduct a Mass.
'Where is your local priest?' asked Jack
'Father Julio was called away to attend to a dying nobleman
whose estate is two days ride from here. I am sure that he
is most disappointed that he is unable to be here to
welcome you' replied the Mayor.
'I have no desire to interfere with Father Julio's flock'
said Jack. 'I am sure that he is a dutiful son of God. As
the representative of the Holy Inquisition, my duty is to
weed out heresy, and to protect the sanctity of the Church.
Show me to my quarters so that I may begin my work without
further delay' he ordered sternly. The crowd started to
disperse and Jack was sure that he caught many relieved
expressions out of the corner of his eye.
The Mayor led Jack to a grim, grey painted building behind
the church. There were no windows in the front wall and the
only entrance was sealed by a heavy, iron banded door. The
Mayor handed a large iron key to Jack and then excused
himself, leaving Jack standing alone in front of the
Inquisitor's sanctum. He unlocked the door and pushed it
open. As expected, the hinges creaked and groaned
alarmingly, in keeping with the grim purpose of the
building. Jack stepped through the doorway and found
himself in a surprisingly simple room. A large wooden cross
decorated one wall and across the room, a bookshelf filled
with leather bound tomes lined another wall. Peeking at the
titles, he found books on exorcism, demonology and witch-
hunting. A well polished reading table bore a quill pen, a
bottle of ink and two large books. One was a bible and the
other appeared to be a ledger. When Jack read the contents
of the ledger, he felt his hair stand on end. An entry
selected at random read:
'Santana - accused of consorting with demons. In order to
save his soul he was put to the torture, whereupon he
confessed his foul associations and was burnt at the stake'
After lighting a candle, Jack closed and locked the door.
For the first time in several hours, he felt able to relax,
relieved of the need to watch his every word and motion,
lest he betray his foreign origins. Two doors led further
into the building. The one next to the bookshelf opened
into a short corridor leading to a simple cell, which Jack
surmised was intended as the sl**ping chamber for the
deceased Father Ruis and also to a kitchen cum storage
room, which held foodstuffs and various other supplies. The
other door revealed a narrow stairway leading upwards.
Lifting the hem of his robes, he climbed the narrow wooden
steps, holding his candle in front of him. At the top there
was a small landing and another door, which did not have a
lock. Pushing it open, the flickering light of the candle
revealed a chamber filled with strangely shaped objects and
furnishings. Beside the door Jack noticed a sconce bearing
a large torch. He lifted the candle and set the oil soaked
rags to burning. Turning back to the room, he realised that
he had entered the torture chamber. His inexperienced eyes
recognised the rack, several types of stocks, a whipping
post and a multitude of chains and ropes. Along the walls
hung whips, hooks, knives and all the various other tools
that a conscientious torturer would need to ply his trade.
Leaving the chamber of horrors with a shudder, Jack
descended the stairs once more. Going to the kitchen, he
prepared a simple meal, which he ate while reading quickly
through several of the smaller books, in the hope of
gaining some knowledge of the ways and duties of an
Inquisitor. He knew that he would soon have to face the
town priest, who would be less fearful of his office and
more likely to spot an impostor. Lulled by the warmth and
security of a full stomach and a locked door, Jack soon
fell asl**p with his face resting on the beautifully
Chapter Three - Duty calls
A loud thumping sound dragged Jack back to the world of the
living with a start. For a moment he thought that he was
back on his ship as he groped around in the total darkness.
More thumps swept away the cobwebs of sl**p and he realised
that someone was pounding on the door. Jack paused for a
moment to run his fingers through this disheveled hair and
then pull the cowl over his head to conceal his un-priestly
hairstyle. Taking a deep breath, he felt his way along the
wall to the door and opened it. To his surprise, the sun
had fallen and he found himself once again facing Mayor
The Mayor was accompanied by a servant carrying a lantern
and a young black haired woman. In the flickering light of
the lamp Jack could see that she was very pretty, with full
red lips and large black eyes that were red and wet with
tears. Behind the trio was gathered a crowd of townsfolk,
who were muttering angrily and brandishing torches, ropes
'Father Ruis!' cried Mayor Sanchez. 'I need your
'Of course my son, what is the problem?' asked Jack
gravely. He kept his head bowed to hide his expression and
to muffle his accent. This posture also had the added
benefit of allowing him to study in detail the firm,
up-thrust contours of the woman's bosom.
'She's a witch!' cried a voice from the crowd.
'Drown her and then burn her!'
The mob started getting really creative at this point and
Jack started to wonder why they needed an Inquisitor at
'Father, this woman, Ramona, is the widow of Innkeeper
Tomas, who was found dead in his bedchamber this morning.
He was but thirty years of age and as fit as a bull'
explained the Mayor.
'Such is the will of God' said Jack pompously. 'What has
this to do with the Holy Inquisition?'
Mayor Sanchez went on to explain that several of the
workers in the town's only inn had seen and heard things
which convinced them that Ramona was in league with the
Devil and had cursed her husband, thereby causing his
death. According to their testimony, they had witnessed the
widow walking about the inn late at night after everyone
had gone to bed, reciting strange chants and spells. It was
common knowledge that she habitually grew diverse plants
and herbs in the garden, undoubtedly in order to brew
'She even had a familiar' exclaimed one of the accusers, a
plump, matronly woman.
'Had?' asked Jack.
'She had a black cat!' replied the woman.
'Had?' asked Jack again.
Several of the crowd shuffled their feet sheepishly, and
one of them held out the carcass of a much mangled black
cat. Hat in hand, one of the peons explained that they had
been f***ed to kill it in order to protect everyone from
the demonic f***es that the familiar would have unleashed
if given the chance.
'Burn her!' yelled someone, setting off the crowd once
'Father, you must do your duty. You must determine whether
this woman is a witch and, if so, do whatever is necessary
her soul' said the Mayor. 'This is a good, God fearing town
and I will not have the peons running around burning anyone
and anything they please. Think of the damage they might
cause' he exclaimed, looking pained.
Jack suspected that the Mayor was more than a little afraid
that the peasants would combine revenge with their witch
hunt, with the landed gentry the likely victims. Everyone
was staring at him, waiting for the Inquisitor to do his
duty and Jack could see no possible way to avoid being
involved. Muttering sailor's curses under his breath, he
place his hand on Ramona's smooth white shoulder.
'Come with me my c***d. The Inquisition shall root out all
evil from your body and soul. Every one else, go back to
your homes and leave God's work to his servant' declared
Jack, in what he hoped was a commanding tone. To his
surprise, the crowd actually obeyed and began to disperse.
However, Mayor Sanchez made no move to leave, and eyed Jack
'Why do you tarry my son?' asked Jack.
The Mayor looked surprised. 'But you must have a witness as
well as someone to record any confessions that you extract
from the witch' replied Mayor Sanchez, looking surprised.
'With Father Julio away, I am the only other person in town
who can read and write well enough to assist you'.
Jack could see no way to make the Mayor leave, so he
thanked him and allowed the Mayor's attendant to build a
fire in the small fireplace and to light up the lamps and
candles. His work completed, the attendant exited the
building and sat down on the grass beside the doorway,
promptly falling asl**p.
While they waited for the servant to finish his work, Jack
took the opportunity to examine Ramona more closely. She
looked frightened, which given the circumstances was only
natural, but did not seem as terrified at the prospect of
being questioned by the Inquisition as he would have
expected. In England, the name of the Spanish Inquisition
was used by mothers to frighten naughty c***dren and even
hardened privateers paled at the thought of falling into
the clutches of this most infamous organ of the Catholic
Church. Ramona obediently followed the two men as Jack led
the way inside. The door slammed shut with a grim finality
as the Mayor turned the key.
'Leave us for a moment my son. I wish to speak with this
sinner alone' said Jack to the Mayor.
Mayor Sanchez nodded in understanding and went upstairs to
examine the waiting implements of torture.
Turning to Ramona, Jack said, 'Is there anything you wish
to tell me, my c***d?'
'I am not a witch' declared Ramona 'and I did not kill my
'And what of the testimony given by the witnesses?'
'Pah!' she spat. 'My husband was a lazy unfaithful pig who
only knew how to eat, get d***k and to bed any woman who
would let him. He treated me like a slave when he was awake
and prevented me from sl**ping with his snoring and
vomiting at night'
'What of the chants and spells?'
'Father, the running of an inn requires more than just the
ability to collect money from my patrons. There are meals
to plan, wine and spirits to buy and wages to pay. I have
but little book learning and must therefore record such
things in my head. Hence I recite my lists out loud to aid
my memory. If such are spells, then every trader and
merchant in Spain is guilty of witchcraft' replied Ramona
'And the growing of noxious weeds?' asked Jack.
'This is a port, and the sailors who stay at my inn often
bring with them new spices and condiments from far away
lands. I try to grow the seeds that they give me and some
of the plants thrive in Spanish soil. The food at my inn is
famous. Just ask any of the seamen at the docks'
'There is the matter of your familiar'
'What inn does not have a cat to control the rats,
especially with all the rats that come ashore from the
ships in harbour?' asked Ramona in return.
'So, you refute the charges made by the good people of the
town and deny that you commune with the devil?'
'I swear this upon my soul, Father' declared Ramona
Jack was inclined to believe her, although he had a healthy
fear of witchcraft and of the devil. However, from his
recent readings, he know that a witch would be expected to
present a clever rebuttal of the accusations. After all,
Lucifer was the Prince of Lies. 'Father Ruis' was still
obliged to put Ramona to the question for the good of her
Ramona seemed to read his thoughts. 'I know that you must
put me to the question. I put myself in your hands good
Father, for I am innocent and I trust in God to prove it
so, although there are those who wish me ill'. Her eyes
flickered towards the doorway through which the Mayor had
There seemed little more to say, so Jack led his prisoner
up the stairs to the torture chamber. His mind whirled,
filled with a confused medley of images and ideas. Ramona
seemed to be implying that the Mayor had a personal as well
as official interest in her case. Although Ramona was
Spanish and hence an enemy of England, the thought of
torturing a woman disturbed him greatly. As a privateer
Jack had done many violent and horrible things, but he had
never deliberately mutilated an innocent woman. On the
other hand, despite her beauty, Ramona could possibly be a
murderess or even a witch and therefore deserving of
Struggling with these inner daemons, Jack led Ramona up the
dark and narrow stairway, with her slim wrist gripped
firmly in his strong and work-calloused hand. Despite her
brave front, he felt her skin go slick with the sweat of
fear as they approached the torture chamber. Ramona's feet
seemed to fail her for a moment as they passed the
threshold, stumbling at the sight of the dreadful
implements of pain that filled the room. Her head shook
from side to side and she made as if to turn and run. Then
the sight of the Mayor, who was seated at the writing table
with a blank sheet of vellum before him and a quill in his
hand, reminded her of the rabid townsfolk outside. Her
shoulders slumped in resignation and she allowed Jack to
lead her to the middle of the chamber.
Chapter four - The Interrogation
In the presence of the Mayor, who appeared ready to
carefully record each of his actions for posterity, Jack
had no choice but follow the precedents laid out in the
books downstairs. He had but to make a single mistake and
he would find himself in a worse position than Ramona, as
English privateers were hated as both heretics and
The first step in the questioning of a girl or woman
accused of witchcraft was to strip her of all clothing.
This was to deprive her of any possible spells, charms and
talismans that might be hidden in her garments as well as
to symbolise her submission to the Lord, stripped of all
vanities and feminine wiles. It was also served to prepare
the victim for the tortures to come.
Stepping back from Ramona, Jack said 'Remove all of your
clothing and place them on the floor beside that pillar'
Jack heard the scratching of a quill behind him. Turning
his head within the concealing cowl, he caught a glimpse of
Mayor Sanchez's face. It seemed to Jack as if the Mayor
smiled gloatingly for an instant, but the light in the room
was dim and he could not be certain that it was not merely
Slowly and with obvious reluctance, Ramona undid the stays
and fastenings of her dress. Unlike the fine ladies of
Madrid, Ramona did not have servants to assist her dress,
so her garments were simple in design and did not take long
to remove. Stripped to her undergarments, she paused,
gazing beseechingly at Jack. Hardening his heart, Jack
ordered her to continue in a cold and implacable tone of
Ramona placed the bundle of clothes on the spot that Jack
had indicated. Without being told she also removed her
shoes. Totally naked, she returned to the centre of the
room. She tried to cover herself with her hands, and tears
of shame glistened in her large brown eyes.
The next step was to inspect the body of the accused for
marks or stigmata that might have been placed on her body
by the devil. If the woman was still possessed of her
virginity it would indicate that she had not had actual
carnal relations with the Devil, a demon or other hellish
being. Despite the fact that Ramona had been married and
therefore unlikely to be a virgin, Jack was obliged to
determine this fact for himself.
Jack began to examine Ramona from head to toe. Despite the
fact that the room was quite warm due to the torches and
the burning coals that heated the irons, Ramona's body
shook as if afflicted with the ague. He lifted her hair and
inspected her neck and shoulders. The smooth fair skin was
clean and unblemished, like polished marble, not marked by
so much as a single freckle. All the while, the scratching
of quill on parchment reminded him that he performed for a
Up to now, the need to play the part of the grim Inquisitor
and the fear of being found out and turned over to the real
Inquisition had fully occupied Jack's thoughts. However,
the silken feel of Ramona's hair, the milky white curve of
her neck and the closeness of her naked body suddenly drew
Jack's attention to the fact that he had not been so close
to any woman in six months, let alone one as attractive as
Ramona. His body began to express this awareness in a most
un-priestly manner, making Jack thankful for the loose,
shapeless cassock that hid his painfully stiff erection.
Being an innkeeper, Ramona was as well versed in the lore
and gossip regarding the methods employed in the hunting of
witches and warlocks, having listened to endless d***ken
arguments between self professed experts.
Jack moved on to her upper arms and armpits, carefully
brushing aside the dark hairs to check the skin beneath.
The musky smell that rose to meet his exploring fingers
only served to further stiffen his ardour. Next came her
breasts, and Jack feared that the Mayor would hear the mad
pounding of his heart as he ran his hands and gaze over the
twin rose-peaked mounds. Bending his head, Jack stroked and
kneaded Ramona's breasts, watching in fascination as her
nipples grew and stiffened under his touch. Grasping each
pink nipple firmly with his fingers, he pulled out and
upwards, lifting her breasts in order that he could check
the undersides. Ramona gasped softly at this rude
treatment, but wisely stayed otherwise silent. From there
Jack went on to her belly and around to her back. Keeling
down, he inspected her buttocks. Gripping her flesh with
both hands he f***ed her cheeks apart. Dark curly hairs
rose up from between her legs, reaching towards the dark
brown circle of her anus. Jack was amazed at her flawless
skin as he continued down her thighs and on to her feet. He
had not found a single mole or blemish that could
reasonably be called a demonic mark. There was only one
spot left to inspect.
Rising, Jack took Ramona's arm and led her to a heavy, much
scarred wooden table and instructed her to lie down on her
back with her legs hanging off the edge. Trembling in
shame, Ramona complied. Without being told, she bent her
knees up to her chest and spread her thighs apart. Working
his way down from the top of her pubic triangle, Jack
inspected the skin of her mons and the large plump lips of
her sex. Gripping the hairs, he rudely pulled her sex
apart, exposing the soft moist inner flesh. Jack realised
that the quill had gone silent and took a quick glance at
the Mayor. As he expected, the Mayor was staring at the
obscene spectacle being enacted before him, lust plain on
his face. However, Jack also thought that he detected other
emotions as well. Did he really see hate and triumph or was
it just his imagination?
Turning back to the job at hand, Jack examined Ramona's
wide splayed sex, finding it as flawless as the rest of her
'I must determine in truth whether you are a virgin' said
Jack gently. 'Since you are accused of consorting with the
servants of Hell, your word on this matter cannot be relied
upon'. Unsurprisingly, the entrance to Ramona's vagina was
dry, so Jack had to use a degree of f***e in order to
obtain entry for his finger to a sufficient depth to assure
himself that her maidenhead was not intact.
'She is no virgin' declared Jack. The sound of the quill
told him that this fact had been faithfully recorded. He
allowed Ramona to climb down from the table top.
'Let the records show that no marks or stigmata were found
on her body'. Ramona looked relieved, but Jack knew that
her trials had only just begun. He spoke his thoughts aloud
for the benefit of the Mayor. 'Even though no visible marks
were found, it is well known that a familiar will obtain
sustenance from a witch through the sucking of her bl**d.
Furthermore, the spot chosen for this unholy feeding
becomes deadened and incapable of feeling any sensation.
Therefore, I shall now test the body of the accused for the
existence of such a spot'. From a shelf Jack picked up a
small, intricately carved wooden chest. Undoing the tiny
clasp, he lifted the lid. The inside of the chest was lined
with red velvet and held dozens of large golden needles
which gleamed evilly in the flickering light of the
chamber. Both Ramona and Mayor Sanchez gasped at the sight
of the tiny instruments of torture.
With his free hand Jack grasped Ramona's arm and began to
lead her over to a set of chains that dangled from a pulley
set in the rafters. At the end of each chain hung a heavy
iron shackle which would fit neatly around a victim's
wrist. For the first time Ramona resisted, refusing to move
closer to the chains. Jack was not surprised, as sight of
those grim iron fetters would serve to weaken the knees of
the bravest person.
'No!' exclaimed Ramona, shaking her head.
'Resistance will not help you my c***d' said Jack.
'Father, I am innocent of the crimes of which they (a glare
at the Mayor) have accused me and the Lord will give me the
strength to face any trial. I will not be bound like a
common cutpurse'. Shaking off Jack's grip on her arm, she
strode defiantly back to the centre of the chamber.
Planting her feet apart, Ramona placed her hands behind her
head, bringing her elbows back and level with her
shoulders. Thus totally exposed she said, 'Do what you will
Father, for I do not fear the truth'.
During this outburst, Jack watch the Mayor's reactions with
interest. He saw Sanchez flush in anger at her defiance,
half rising from his seat as if to smite her down himself.
Before the Mayor could speak, Jack bowed his head in
acceptance. 'As you wish, my c***d. My duty is to do the
work of the Lord and to defeat evil wherever it may be
found'. So long as the Mayor watched and his minions waited
outside, he had to play the part of the Inquisitor to the
hilt. He dared not openly defend Ramona, although his
chivalrous instincts cried out for him to find a means of
Knowing that the Mayor would likely have witnessed similar
interrogations in the past, Jack did not dare to lessen the
severity of the tortures to be applied. However, the length
of time that he took in carrying out each infliction and
the choice of the torments to be employed were to a degree
within his control.
As he approached the brave woman with a needle in his hand,
Jack was unable to deny in his heart of hearts that the
idea of using the golden spikes on her beautiful flesh did
in fact call out to the dark side of his sexuality. He was
far from a saintly man and would not survive very long as a
privateer if he had a squeamish disposition. He had killed
and he had ****d, but only in the heat of battle and in the
burning heat of battle's aftermath.
The most obvious place for a familiar to suckle was at the
nipples and so Ramona's nipples were the first target for
Jack's attentions. Needing to get a good grip, Jack
scratched gently at the tip of her nipples with his
fingernail, playing with them until Ramona's own bodily
reactions betrayed her and caused the nipples to stiffen
and rise into prominence above the smooth curve of her
breasts. He grasped a now rigid nipple with thumb and
forefinger. He glanced up and saw Ramona's eyes focused
intently on the needle in his other hand. Jack knew from
experience that a fast and sudden puncture wound could
often be almost painless at first. If Ramona failed to
react to the needle it would damn her as a witch, so Jack
pretended to quickly stab the needle into her nipple, when
actually stopping the point upon contact with her skin and
then forcing the it into her flesh with a slow, steady
Eyes wide in horror, Ramona moaned in pain as Jack pierced
the tip of her nipple, forcing the metal point a quarter of
an inch into her flesh and the muscles of her body quivered
as she fought the urge to pull away from the pain. Leaving
the needle embedded in her nipple, Jack repeated the
operation on her other nipple with similar results.
Ramona's skin began to glistened with the sweat of pain as
Jack systematically thrust needles into the underside of
her breasts, her armpits and her navel. Moving around to
her back, Jack pushed golden needles into Ramona's
shoulders and buttocks, taking care to inflict as much pain
as he could in order to ensure that the Mayor clearly saw
her reaction to each and every needle.
Putting the box on the floor, Jack spread the cheeks of her
buttocks apart with his hand, exposing her anus. Ramona
groaned and begged 'No, please, not there'. Jack ignored
her plea. In the twisted logic of the torture chamber, such
a plea demanded even more rigorous infliction of pain as it
indicated that the torture might be close to having the
desired effect of obtaining a confession.
Ramona cried out in pain for the first time as Jack thrust
a needle through the dark skin at the edge of her anus. Her
obvious suffering disqualified that spot, so Jack moved
down to the insides of her thighs and to her calves. Each
time, Jack was able to draw a satisfactory reaction. There
remained only one more potential teat that might have
nursed a familiar.
Kneeling in front of Ramona's widespread legs, Jack peeled
back the flesh lips of her sex to expose her clitoris.
Realising what he was about to do, Ramona's courage
momentarily failed her and she jerked her hips back and
away from the needle.
Looking up at her agonised, pleading face, Jack asked 'Have
we found what we seek? Do you wish to confess and save
yourself the suffering?'. Jack knew that this was a crucial
moment. If Ramona displayed weakness at this point, he
would have no chance of saving her and to try would put his
life at risk for nothing. His words seemed to bring Ramona
back from the brink of panic and he saw the fire and
determination rekindle in her eyes. Ramona licked her dry
lips and softly said 'I am innocent'. This time she did
not flinch when Jack reached out to expose her clitoris but
she screamed in agony as the point of the needle pierced
the delicate skin of her tiny bud and continued the full
quarter inch into her flesh.
Rising to his feet, Jack turned to the Mayor. 'It is done.
I have not found a familiar's teat on her body'. Mayor
Sanchez seemed mesmerised by the sight of Ramona's tortured
body and did not react. 'I said that it is done' repeated
Jack in a louder tone. The Mayor gave a start and nodded
several times in the manner of an apprentice who is caught
dreaming by his craft master and is unsure of the question
being asked. The Mayor scribed the results of Jack's
efforts into the ledger.
Jack returned to Ramona's side and started removing the
needles. As he worked, the Mayor stood up and approached
'I beg you pardon Father, but I need to go outside to
relive myself and to get a drink. I am sorry to delay your
Jack bowed and replied 'God's work will be done in it's own
time my son. Do as you must. I confess that I am in need of
a moment of contemplation in order that I may face the work
of the Devil with all my meager ability'. The Mayor took
this vague statement as a dismissal and made haste down the
Chapter Five - Revelations
Jack quickly finished removing the rest of the needles and
Ramona sank down on her knees in exhaustion and relief.
Touching her on the shoulder, Jack said 'I sense that there
is an enmity between you and our good Mayor. Tell me the
truth of this matter. You have my word that I will not
reveal what you say to him although I cannot offer you the
Seal of Confession as you are accused of witchcraft'
Desperate to find someone willing to listen to her story,
Ramona spoke. 'My husband was a weak and useless man. He
was d***k on our own wine most of the time. Sanchez on the
other hand is a scheming lecher. He approached me several
times with an offer to become his lover. I chose to remain
faithful to my husband and rejected Sanchez each time. The
last time he became angry and raised his voice loud enough
to awaken my d***kard of a husband. In a d***ken stupor, he
accused Sanchez and myself of committing adultery, and
threatened to expose us to the town Elders and Father
Julio. Sanchez laughed and warned both my husband and
myself to remain silent on pain of death'. She sighed.
'Continue, my c***d' urged Jack, his eye on the doorway.
'I cannot prove that Sanchez killed my husband, but I
suddenly found myself alone and accused of practicing
witchcraft' said Ramona sadly. 'I suppose that Sanchez has
decided that I should be silenced permanently'
Jack studied the glistening mass of Ramona's hair and
considered what he had seen and heard this evening. Finally
he came to a decision. He could not make himself leave
Ramona to burn at the stake. However, he was still not sure
whether she was an ally or a foe. She might be so loyal to
Spain and the Catholic church that she would be willing to
face death at the stake in order to expose the Englishman
in their midst.
'Ramona. Listen to me. Do you wish to live?' asked Jack.
Ramona's head jerked upwards at the change in the
"Inquisitor's" voice. 'What do you mean?'
Fearing the Mayor's return, Jack hurriedly told Ramona the
truth. He poised himself to break her neck should she try
to cry out.
'Why do you not run away now?' she asked.
'It is true that I could vanish into the darkness and try
another town after the hue and cry had died down. However,
I believe your tale and I will not leave a woman to the
tender mercies of such as Mayor Sanchez, especially not a
woman as beautiful as you' declared Jack, eyeing Ramona's
Ramona blushed and smiled at him. 'I am a simple woman. I
know nothing of politics and despite what they say, I know
that the English are Christians too and not the demons that
some would have them be. I no longer have a place in this
town and perhaps not in all of Spain. I will go with you if
you can find a way to save us both'
Jack sighed in relief. 'I have a plan, but you will have to
pay a price. Our only chance of escape is by sea. If we can
steal a fishing boat, I can take us to England. Once at sea
no Spanish sailor is a match for an Englishman' said Jack.
'And the price?' asked Ramona.
'We need two things. First is time. We need to wait for the
dawn tide if we are to get out to sea quickly. Second, the
townsfolk must be distracted in order for us to reach the
boat at all. Therefore, we must carry on with your
questioning for another two hours, during which time you
must not break or confess. When dawn approaches, you will
finally appear to break under the torture and admit that
you are indeed a witch. I will then send the good Mayor off
to arrange a stake and bonfire for your execution'
Ramona paled upon hearing Jack's plan. She opened her mouth
to object, but then realised that they had no other option.
Jack continued his explanation. 'News of the planned
execution, which I shall schedule for noon in the Town
Square, will entice all the townsfolk to congregate at the
Square. We will thus have a clear path to the harbour'
Ramona nodded in understanding. 'Until that time, you will
have to carry on with my torture in such a manner as not to
arouse Sanchez's suspicions'
'I will not employ any tortures that will cripple or injure
you such as the boot, rack or the strappado. However, you
realise that I will be f***ed to steadily increase the
severity of the torture each time you refuse to confess. I
would kill the Mayor as soon as he comes back, but as a
priest, I cannot order the execution and we would be
trapped in this building' said Jack.
'I understand' replied Ramona. 'I will hold out until you
give me the signal. Have no fear, I shall not cry for mercy
until the time is right. I must confess, that I have found
enjoyment in receiving my husband's strap across my
buttocks in the past, although he thought that my cries
were only out of anguish. As long as I know that my
punishment will have an end and that I am not to die, I can
endure'. To Jack's amazement, Ramona grinned and slipped
one hand between her thighs. She blushed as she produced a
finger glistening with her juices. 'See what your needles
did to me?'
Ramona's revelation made Jack hopeful that his wild scheme
might have a chance of success as well giving him a renewed
erection, which Ramona spotted with a giggle.
The sound of footsteps on the stairs wiped the smiles from
the schemers' faces. The Mayor resumed his seat and Jack
resumed his role as the grim Inquisitor.
'This first trial did not prove your innocence, but merely
that you have not had the opportunity to conjure up a
familiar. We shall see if you remain as stubborn under the
Sanchez nodded in approval at Jack's announced course of
Jack led Ramona over to the table and made her bend over it
with her face and breasts pressed firmly to the rough and
splintered wood. Selecting a leather strap from the many
whips and canes hanging on the wall, Jack stroked her
upraised buttocks, taking aim.
'Do you confess, witch?'
'I am a good Christian woman'
'Very well' sighed Jack. Without further warning, he swung
the strap up and then down, striking her buttocks with a
'Crack' that echoed from the stone walls of the chamber. A
dark red bruise formed immediately on the skin of Ramona's
buttocks, the f***e of the blow sending ripples through the
firm flesh. The tortured woman did not cry out, although
her hands clawed at the table top. The strap rose, paused
in mid-air and then flashed down again, smashing into her
buttocks with terrible f***e. Ramona writhed like a landed
fish on the table top, her legs jerking an kicking. Again
and again, like the swinging pendulum of a clock, the strap
rose and fell, spreading the patch of flaming red all over
her buttock cheeks and down to her thighs.
Panting from the effort, Jack dropped the strap and chose a
long horsewhip. Gripping her fever hot hips, he flipped
Ramona over onto her back. Pulling her arms out to the
sides, he asked softly 'Do you want me to use the chains?
The next will be worse'
'No. Do your worst, but you will not break me' declared
Ramona dramatically. Looking down at her loins, Jack hoped
that Mayor Sanchez would not notice the silvery liquid
trail that led down her thigh from her sex.
Pushing her knees wide apart, Jack stepped back and began
using the horsewhip. Unlike a strap, the whip left thin,
sharply defined lines. Its stiff tapering tip cut the skin
of her thighs like a razor, leaving tiny trickles of bl**d
wherever it struck. Ramona grunted each time the whip
landed, her mouth open in an 'O' of agony. Beads of sweat
ran off her body, leaving dark stains on the wood of the
table and the tendons of her arms and shoulders stood out
like steel cables but still she did not try to avoid the
Jack shifted his aim and the hissing tip of the horsewhip
landed among the damp curls of Ramona's pubic bush. Razor
fine cuts drew glistening red lines across the full puffy
lips of her sex and Ramona shrieked in agony as her hips
bounced up and down on the table with sufficient f***e to
rattle the massive piece of furniture. Soon both the inner
and outer labia had swollen, causing her sex to blossom
open like the petals of a dew speckled rose. One final cut
bl**died her clitoris and Ramona leapt up from the table
top, to fall screaming on the floor.
Jack glanced hopefully at the narrow slit near the top of
the eastern wall, but the no trace of light could be seen.
The woman's torture would have to continue. Jack stood over
the moaning figure and demanded that she confess, calling
upon God and all the heavenly hosts to drive forth all evil
from her soul in order to delay the moment when he would
have to inflict the next torment upon her.
Walking slowly over to a corner of the room, Jack picked up
a bucket of salt water. He knew the nature of it's contents
because if the brass label that some conscientious soul had
affixed to the bucket's side. With a silent apology, he
emptied the saline solution over Ramona's supine body. The
salt burned like liquid fire in the numerous tiny cuts,
especially those on the bleeding lips of her sex. The shock
of the cold water and the stinging agony of the salt in her
wounds brought Ramona to her feet, sobbing in pain.
'I see that you are ready for more. If I must break your
body in order to save your soul, then so be it' said Jack
grimly. He heard Sanchez murmur in agreement. Once more
Jack turned to the seemingly endless assortment of torture
devices in the room, choosing a strange looking device
consisting of three curved strips of metal joined at one
end to form a slim, barrel like shape, the whole thing
joined to a handle. From his earlier reading, he knew
that this was a device designed to torture a woman's
vagina. The sides of the 'barrel' could be made to expand
outwards by the turning of three screws. When inserted
inside the vagina it would painfully dilate the delicate
passage, and was capable of ripping and tearing the flesh
if taken to extremes. By carefully expanding and then
contracting the device, the torturer could inflict the
agonies of c***dbirth or worse. However, unlike in the case
of a human c***d, this pain would not cease unless the
torturer willed it so. The metal strips could be replaced
with ones that were studded with metal spikes of varying
length and sharpness or even hooks or blades. In addition,
the device served to spread the vagina open, allowing the
introduction of various instruments of torture deep inside
the victim's body.
Taking advantage of his image as the sadistic torturer,
Jack showed the device to Ramona and explained in loving
detail its use and it's effect on the victim's body.
Finally, he ran out of words and the Mayor was beginning to
fidget, so Jack placed himself between Ramona's thighs,
trapping her between the wall and his hips. He glanced at
the shackles, but Ramona shook her head. Jack realised that
Ramona could resist the pain, but not the feeling of being
trapped by the chains at the same time.
Placing the rounded ends of the three prongs at the opening
of her vagina, Jack pushed hard. Ramona's eyes widened in
pain and she bit her lower lip until flecks of bl**d welled
out as the harsh metal sc****d past her inner labia,
dragging the crinkled petals inward and tearing the
delicate skin. Jack knew that he could have eased the entry
by spreading open her sex lips before inserting the device,
but such consideration would have appeared suspicious. He
pushed harder, driving the cold metal past the uselessly
clenching muscles. Ramona was fortunate in that she found
some enjoyment from being tortured, as her sex passage was
moist, allowing the metal to slide in with less resistance
than if she had been completely dry. Most women would have
been have their flesh ripped merely from the insertion.
The metal prongs struck Ramona's cervix with a thump,
sending scalding pain shooting up her womb and spreading
through her belly. She groaned in pain, her fingers clawing
at her thighs as she fought the urge to grab at the object
that was hurting her. With the device fully inserted, he
gripped the knob on the wooden handle that controlled the
movement of the prongs. Two turns of the screw spread the
prongs out to the diameter of a large cucumber. The walls
of her vagina throbbed in pain, as the f***e that was
spreading her passage was concentrated in three narrow
metal flanges rather than evenly over the surface of a
cylinder such as a cucumber or a penis. Ramona's vaginal
muscles ached from their futile efforts to eject the
intruding prongs. Pearly white fluid dripped from the mouth
of her pussy, running down over her anus to splatter on the
Jack turned the screw another turn and Ramona began to pant
as she fought the pain. The opening in her body was now
wide enough to admit a woman's fist and Jack feared that
another turn of the screw would begin to tear her flesh.
Reaching out, he picked up a pair of steel tweezers which
had tips bent at a forty-five degree angle to the shafts,
making it ideal for being inserted inside tight or narrow
spaces. Sliding the tweezers past the mechanism of the
spreader, he inserted it to a depth of three inches.
The flanges of the spreader device were now opened out
enough to expose strips of Ramona's vaginal walls. The
inside of a vagina is most sensitive to friction, so when
Jack sc****d the sharp tips of the tweezers along the moist
inner flesh, it felt to Ramona as if the insides of her sex
were being ripped out. Her heels thumped on Jack's back as
she wailed in agony. Jack pinched a small piece of the taut
vaginal wall with the tweezers and twisted, drawing a
shriek from his victim, her hands pounding frantically on
the table top as if she could crush the pain under her
fists. Just then, Jack saw a glimmer of light through the
slit in the wall. Dawn had come.
'Confess your evil, woman!' thundered Jack. 'Confess now!'
Ramona's eyes widened in confusion, her mind dazed with
agony. Jack gave a tiny nod, winking his eye.
Unfortunately, she was silent long enough for it to become
obvious that she had not yet broken. Yet she was smart
enough to start pleading.
'Please, no more. Please don't hurt me again' she sobbed.
Jack took a fresh grip with tweezers and squeezed harder.
Ramona's eyes rolled up in their sockets and the tendons in
her neck vibrated with the almost soundless scream that
tore from her throat. A small trickle of bl**d stained the
tweezers and dripped on the table top to join the many
other bl**dstains that had accumulated on it's surface.
'No more! I confess! I confess!' cried Ramona sobbing.
Bowing his head to hide his relief, Jack said 'It is done'.
Mayor Sanchez signed the page with a flourish. 'I have
recorded and witnessed the witch's confession'.
'You have been of great assistance in this matter Mayor
Sanchez and I shall mention your name in my report to the
Archbishop' said Jack. The Mayor swelled in pride, barely
able to hide his relief at the success of his plot to
silence the only person who might have accused him of
murder. Even if Ramona spoke out now, no one would believe
the word of a self confessed witch.
'Now you must do your duty Mayor Sanchez' said Jack. 'This
witch must be burned at noon, before she can spread her
evil any further. I suggest that you set up the stake in
the town square so that all may witness the triumph of good
over evil. I shall stay here to guard this servant of the
The Mayor was most agreeable to this suggestion and ran off
to make the arrangements.
Hearing the slamming of the main door, Jack turned in
concern to Ramona. 'Are you all right?' he asked as he
carefully removed the spreading device and pressed a cloth
soaked in cold water to her swollen sex.
Ramona nodded tiredly. 'I will live, although I do not
think that I will be sitting down very much for a while'
Jack gave her a sip a wine and helped her to put on her
dress. They would now have to wait for the Mayor to do his
work and trust in luck.
Chapter Six - Escape
It was half an hour later before the sounds of the Mayor's
footsteps sounded on the stairway again.
'All is ready Father' came his voice through the doorway.
'Prepare the witch for the flames'. The Mayor stepped into
the room and saw Jack sitting on the table cutting the his
carefully scribed record of the inquisition into strips of
unintelligible leather. 'What are you doing?' he cried 'And
where is the witch?'
Jack nodded towards the doorway. The Mayor turned just in
time to see Ramona swinging an axe towards his head. Jack
winced as the blade crunched into the ex-Mayor's skull.
Ramona spat at the corpse before following Jack down the
stairs and out into the cold dawn air. They saw no one as
they ran towards the docks. It seemed that the burning of a
witch was a great attraction in this sl**py town. Ramona
led the way through the maze of small shops and warehouses
that lined the seaside. When they reached the water, Jack
quickly chose a likely looking vessel and within minutes,
they were moving away from the Spanish shore.
Once he had the single sail set to his satisfaction, he
turned to Ramona. 'We will be in England before you know it
Ramona, and I promise that you will find a new and happy
life there... with me, I hope'
Ramona smiled radiantly and kissed Jack on the lips. 'If
that is a proposal, I accept. You are my saviour, and you
are good with a strap too' she said, giving him a wink as
she rubbed her buttocks.
Glancing back at the shore, Jack saw the figure of an old
woman standing by the waterside, waving. Alarmed that their
escape had been spotted so soon, he turned to Ramona and
asked 'Who is that old lady? Blast it, she will raise a hue
and cry before we are safely out to sea!'
To his surprise, Ramona waved back, blowing her a kiss.
'Not to worry Jack, that is only my mother. She just wanted
to see her new son-in-law'
'Your mother! How did she know that we were sailing this
morning?' Jack asked in confusion.
'Don't be silly darling' replied Ramona grinning slyly. 'Of
course she knew. Witches know everything'
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