The Man and The Mask

an excerpt



Part One

England - 1730-1759







Chapter One
Stand and Deliver' 1756-1759



"Stand and deliver!" The crisp voice rang out through the foggy night air. "Your money or your life."

The heavy coach slowed along the road out of London and through the Hackney Woods. The driver obeyed the command and reined in his team. I was the first rider, masked and leather clad, who rode my horse into the clearing. I reined in close to the frightened coachman, a pistol held firmly in my gloved hand.

A second, taller rider closed in on the coach. He dismounted in a swirl of cape and boots. "Step outside please," the deep voice commanded. "Let me see you. Don't try any foolish moves. We have pistols trained on you, and we are all excellent shots."

"Not more than ten miles from the Haymarket in London Town," grumbled a well-dressed, middle-aged man as he handed two ladies out of the coach. "You're not safe anywhere from these damned highwaymen. You'd think that by the year of Our Lord 1757, there would be better patrols on the main roads."

"Be quiet, Benjamin. Let them get on with it," snapped a plump lady of similar years. "I trust it's money and jewels you want, and not my niece's virtue."

"Madam, you are entirely right." The black-garbed man smiled. "Hand them over immediately, so your niece may be preserved for her future husband. On the ground in front of me."

The passengers complied reluctantly. With a sharp prod of the pistol in the merchant's crotch, they finally handed over a growing pile of money bags and jewelry at the robber's feet.

"I see you brought your ready money with you, sir. For that, we thank you. Now, back in your coach and away with you."

The three passengers bundled back in, complaining.

As the second highwayman, it was my task to watch these proceedings silently. Then I backed my horse away from the coach before cracking the long whip in my other hand. The startled coachman and team cantered rapidly down the road into the fog.

The tall highwayman laughed, calling me to join him. "Help me gather up our winnings, Michael, and we'll be off. Your intelligence worked very well again. I think they believed half-a-dozen ruffians were after them."

I slid off the back of the sorrel stallion; then walked over to the pile. Our success delighted me.

"Not bad, eh, Jamey? I told you Sir Tristram was bringing his monthly take back to his country home. Where shall we meet - at the inn or the house?"

"Your house is more private. There we can relax and enjoy ourselves." His leather-gloved hand reached round to grasp my cock and balls through my leather breeches.

I groaned with pleasure, swinging around to face him, this tall, well-built, and immaculately dressed man.

Captain Jamey Todhunter was the master highwayman. I was little more than an apprentice - but with connections. With his hat and leather mask shadowing his face, he kissed me soundly, his tongue burrowing its usual path between my teeth.

"Yes, Michael, definitely the house." He released me. "Finish putting our loot into the saddle bags, and we'll away."

He swung easily into the saddle of the dark stallion that had been standing calmly nearby. Then I followed with equal ease. We cantered along little-used trails through Hackney Woods to my family home. Our steward, Wilfred, had waited up for us, as always. He silently took the horses into the stables as we went in by the back door, dividing the saddlebags between us. Our heavy boots clomped up the servants' staircase. We hurried down the corridor to the farthest guest room, carefully outfitted for Jamey's tastes.

"Empty the bags of loot into the treasure hole while I think what I should do to you. We did well tonight, so you get your reward - a good thrashing and a deep fucking. Upright or bent over? Upright, I think. Strip off so that I can look at you in the firelight."

I emptied the last of the night's haul into the hiding place. Then I quickly shrugged out of the heavy leather coat and cape. I sat down to pull off my boots and breeches. Wearing only a light shirt and breech clout, I rose to face my master.

Jamey stood warming his buttocks by the fireplace, his six-foot frame still dressed in a handsome Irish linen shirt, his black leather breeches, and shining thigh-high boots. While he'd taken off his velvet jacket and cape, his leather mask still shadowed his eyes, those glittering green orbs. I looked back at him. At twenty, I was almost the same height as his twenty-nine years, but he was broader in the shoulders and chest. As I knew full well, his hidden prick was much bigger.

"Off with the rest of your clothes. Put your boots back on. Walk yourself over to the bed-frame, young Michael, so I can spread you wide."

He bound each wrist high up on the strong bed-posts of the wooden four-poster bed. My booted feet were kicked far apart across the floor before he roped them to the bottom corners of the heavy bed-frame.

"Let me look you over - firmly roped, I trust. Let me see you wriggle out of those bonds. Good, no stretch in the ropes, just that smooth arse waiting for my whip."

He slid his long whip handle slowly down my naked back. The whip stopped at my arse cheeks, where it gently pushed into my anxious hole - and withdrew. I quivered in anticipation.

"Calm down, young man. We have all night. I'm trying to train you to relax, to enjoy every step of our sex play. You're too anxious to be fucked. I know my cock gives you great pleasure and pain. Remember, you have to work to deserve it. So let's begin in the front."

He climbed up onto the bed, facing me. The whip slid across my mouth. I tried to wet and warm the strands with my saliva. He tweaked first one of my small nipples and then the other. The whip moved lower, caressing my belly. I moaned as it nudged my member, already erect and dripping with drops of precum.

"It's much more pleasurable to take it slowly, step by step. I want both of us to enjoy you savoring my prick in your mouth. Open up wide; take it in slowly. Let your saliva coat it. Now tongue it to full erection."

I followed his instructions. The heavy thick weight of his prick was a living brand between my lips. I wanted it deeper.

He growled, "That's good. I can feel it growing towards your throat. You can grunt and gobble as much as you like, Michael, but watch your teeth."

He didn't have to remind me about my teeth. One incident of a leaking cock and an angry master had been more than enough to keep my mouth wide and my molars hidden.

"Fine, that's enough. I'm fully up now. Beating your arse red will keep me happy and erect. First, I need to gag you so you don't wake the household. Kiss the leather lump, take it in, and bend your head. Now I can tighten the strap properly."

The leather wad was dry as it filled my mouth. Still, he did not hesitate to wind its thick strap around the back of my head to secure it firmly.

"Next, a check of my knots before I move behind you, off the bed, to start the flogging. Now let's warm you up properly. Bite down on the gag if you need to. Tonight, you're going to take six of my best as part of your reward.

"Let's begin. One - yes, wriggle your arse if you want to. It's my first target. Two - good, a nice parallel line alongside it. Three - it's no use pulling on the ropes. Four - my knots have anchored you firmly in place. Five - watch those noises. You'll wake up your brother and sister. Six - excellent, you're getting better at taking your lashes, and your bum looks rosy and inviting. Now I'll let my fingers open up your rosebud before my cock comes calling."

I felt first one wet finger slide into my crack, work its way in, and then a second joined it, slithering around to reach my sphincter muscle. I moaned around the gag as the fingers withdrew. Jamey's cock head took its place, edging its way into my well-warmed hole. As his tool began to find its pathway, stretching the sheath, Jamey's body joined up to mine. His powerful hands, clamping round my chest, pulled on my tenderized tits with delight, and his member sank fully home. One large hand moved up to cover my gagged mouth. I smelled my own cock juices on his fingers. The other went back down to my leaking penis.

We were locked together, joined by his throbbing rod. It unlatched my secret door and heated my velvet tunnel. Our bodies began to sweat together, and he moved in and out. I tried to rear back on the pole that I wanted to fill me so completely. He thrust, and I bucked in rhythm, one of his hands continuing to caress my face, the other stroking my own fuck tool. He bit my shoulder. I hissed with pleasure.

The sweat slithered between our heated bodies as he increased his tempo. His strong tool shoved me forward in my bondage, surging in and out of my channel. He worked my dick more firmly. My arse muscles clamped down on his prick in turn. I felt his balls tightening. My master's cum surged upward into my waiting innards. Suddenly, my body arched in turn, and my jism splashed out in long white ropes across his waiting hand.

We swayed together, and I trembled in the ropes. He gasped on my back. Then he brought up his hand with my cum and spread it over my face, pushing some of it round the gag and into my mouth. Slowly, he pulled out of me. I sighed deeply. He slapped my sore bum, chuckling with pleasure.

"You're beginning to make an excellent fuck-partner. A few more robberies like tonight will spur me to finish training you in how to service me in a variety of positions. For now, let's untie you. Then we'll clean off and get some rest. You want to sleep with me for the rest of the night?"

I nodded, sore and stretched, cum-filled and cock-happy. After he undressed, I sponged clean his eight-inch tool, lavishing warm water from the fireplace and lavender soap to wash his body. I cleaned myself, front and back, letting a little of his cum seep from my hole onto my hand, then into my mouth. We lay down together in the large bed. It was a rare treat for me to feel Jamey's muscled arms around me, his tool gently nudging my crack. He fell asleep almost immediately. I lay there, warm and filled, and thought back.

"Stand and Deliver!"

Was it only eight months since I had first heard a highwayman's challenge? How much had changed since that dark night when my sister, father, and I had been driving home and met Captain Todhunter.

We had been celebrating my sister's eighteenth birthday in London at the fashionable Vauxhall Gardens. In addition, one of my father's ships had recently docked, loaded with goods from the East India Company, of which he was a director. One or two more ships in the Taplow fleet were also expected to dock shortly with rich cargoes.

Sir George Taplow, my father, had done very well for himself as a merchant venturer, with a sprawling new house and estate in the country. He had many friends in London, judging from the greetings and conversations as we strolled through the Gardens, there were various entertainments to enjoy and exotic foods to be sampled. We were still in a festive mood going home in our coach until the command to halt rang out.

****

Three masked men on horseback surrounded the coach. One dismounted as we stumbled out of the coach. I watched him; tall, well-built, well-dressed in a dark green jacket, black leather breeches, and very tall shining black boots and spurs. Even the horse behind him was sleek and well-groomed.

"And you, young man, what have you to contribute?" He forced my attention back to his purpose - to rob us. "A watch, some rings, or do you want to give me something else - something more personal - that you look me over so closely."

"Here, here's what money I have, and you can have my watch."

I dared him. He leaned over to jerk it out of my waistcoat in one swift movement, and his gloved hand, with the loaded pistol, firmly poked my balls and penis for emphasis. I hissed in pain and looked sharply into the eyes behind the leather mask. They twinkled at me. My sister was in tears over a necklace, which had been her birthday present. I dared again.

"Sir, if you are a gentleman, you will return the necklace my father just gave to my sister for her birthday."

"And what, young sir, can I claim in return - a kiss from her, or a kiss from you?"

He didn't wait for an answer. He strode back to me, seized my jaw, and forced my mouth open. It was a kiss such as I'd never enjoyed before. His tongue slid in and out of my gaping mouth, and his lips crunched down on mine.

"Not a bad exchange for a necklace." He chuckled. "Now back in the coach with you all."

He swatted my arse and thrust the necklace into my hand before I leapt into the carriage

"Michael, what did you say to him?" demanded my sister. "Why did he kiss you and not me? Anyway, you got my present back, and I thank you."

Bewildered, I tasted him - tobacco and brandy -on my tongue. My cock rose in my breeches, excited by the challenge and danger I thought he offered. It was an exciting experience for a nineteen-year-old student, well-robbed and well-kissed by a "gentleman of the road" in one evening.

My father groaned, sinking back in the upholstered seats. He gasped, red in the face. Elizabeth, my sister, reached over to undo his thick lace collar.

I leaned out of the window and called to the coachman, "Hurry, Adam. My father has taken suddenly ill."

We got him safely home, but he never rose from his large bed again.

"Disease of the heart," the doctors said, and he died a couple of months later. Mourners came out from London and elsewhere - busy gentlemen from the East India Company, and our neighboring squires and their ladies. Benjamin Drummond, the family lawyer, also attended. Later that day, he sat me down firmly in the study.

"Now, Sir Michael - yes, you've inherited the title, but little else. It is better I give you the unvarnished truth. Your father was overextended. Two of his ships are missing with their cargoes. You do own this house and grounds free and clear. Your father's London house is on a twenty-year lease, which is paid up. You may want to dispose of it, as there are no funds for staff wages or upkeep. There will be a modest income from the company for you, your younger brother Joseph, and your sister. You'll have to leave the university and find yourself a career. Does the army appeal, or do you fancy business, like your father? Some of his friends can probably help you. Think about it for a day or so, and let me know."

So, Sir Michael Taplow, Baronet, or Bart for short, needed a position in life. I took stock of my assets - tall, well-built, reasonably well-educated, reasonably good-looking, reasonably charming to the ladies. I was a gentleman in fact, but cash-poor and land-poor. The following week, I put on my good clothes and rode into town.

As I trotted my stallion, Benbow, through Hackney Woods, my mind drifted back to my relationship with my parents. My mother, I had scarcely known. She died giving birth to my brother Joseph when I was only five years old. Our faithful steward, Wilfred, would sometimes ask me what memories I had of her.

"I remember a pretty lady with blonde hair, just like mine. I remember that she always smelled sweet and lovely," I would always reply.

Wilfred would nod, encouraging my reminiscing. "That would be the lavender toilet water she liked to wear. Truly, she were a right pretty lady."

I would interrupt him without much thought. "Did she have a lilt to her voice when she told me tales like you do - of adventure and daring-do? But without the cuss words you use."

Our steward would chuckle and slap me on the back. "Aye, she were a good storyteller, and were, truly, the daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy. She loved to laugh, too."

Suddenly, the sound would come back to me. I could hear the sound of her laughter as it had echoed around the rooms of the large and drafty house my father had built for her.

"Why did he build a house like this? It's far too big for us children to rattle around in. And it's so far from London Town," I would complain to Wilfred.

I would be stopped firmly.

"I'll not hear a word against thee father, young master Michael. He built here in the green woods to keep yer mother away from the fogs, the smells, and the grime of that wicked city." Wilfred would go on to state, "I, for one, am pleased to serve in such a well-built home, free from want and misery. So should you be, young master. Yer mother were delicate, and yer father loved her dearly. He was nigh out of his mind when she died, but he kept this house in her memory, to make certain that you children could grow up safe and secure from the wickedness of the world."

I nodded solemnly. Still, I couldn't help feeling as though our father didn't really care for us. We saw so little of him.

Wilfred would reassure me. "Thee father really loved thee mother and loved you young ‘uns deeply, too, but he never got over the loss of his lovely wife."

Over time, I came to find out that our father, Sir George Taplow, had flung himself into his business enterprises, becoming more successful with each year, gaining a knighthood from King George for some special service one of his ships had provided. This meant he was often away from home, sailing on his merchantmen and other ships in my early years. He continued to spend more time in London as I reached my adolescent years.

My education, and that of both my sister Elizabeth - "Lizzie," we called her - and brother Joseph, had been in the hands of a succession of tutors, governesses, and servants. My most valuable education came through my time with Wilfred, the steward who had run the household as long as I could remember. His wife, Molly, served as cook and sometimes as Lizzie's confidant.

Wilfred was a well-built man, of shorter stature than my father or myself. He was always sure of his place in the scheme of things. He never forgot his humble beginnings as a seaman from a small village in Essex. Wilfred first served my father as a bosun on our old merchantman, The Queen Anne. He was fiercely devoted to my family as we children grew older, insisting we practice our manners for company and behave as befitted the offspring of a successful businessman and a knight of the realm.

My real upbringing and knowledge of the outside world had largely been the work of Wilfred. He fed my mind with stories of other countries he had visited. His lively tales of adventures on the high seas first planted the idea that perhaps I could go adventuring when I grew up.

I do not wish to disparage my father. He was a good man, aware of his duties as a parent. Yet, he was seemingly unable to express his emotions openly. As children, we yearned for any expression of love from him. Becoming a young man, I did my best to show affection to both my sister and brother. As Elizabeth grew, she joined with me to ensure young Joseph saw some examples of family love.

I grew to be taller than my father, with the same open face and wiry, but muscled build. Years of being buffeted by the trade winds and living under warmer suns had given our father a darkened complexion.

His years of trading made him careful with other merchants and business people. His own reputation was as an honest and forthright trader, whose word was his bond. He presented a warmer personality to the outside world, which gained him many friends.

These qualities were of little value to his children, who looked forward to his visits to our house in Hackney Woods, but were often disappointed by his lack of open affection. Yet, ours was a happy childhood, by and large. We could roam the woods on foot or on horseback in our limited free time. We learned to know the countryside well, with Wilfred's help, so we wouldn't get lost. Our steward indulged me in particular with games of pirates and sea captains, as well as his tales of the lands and people around the world, whom he claimed to have met.

I longed for such adventures. My imagination was held back as I came to understand the cautions of businessmen like my father. Watching me grow up to loom over him, he would remark ruefully on my height and healthy body as I approached my first majority of eighteen. I was by now taller than he.