Author's Note: Princess Sophie has been captured and then rescued from marauding barbarians, but she will never be the same.
Full Story (added: )
Princess Sophie waited impatiently in her chambers admiring her dress in the mirror. It was her wedding day and she was enduring a mandatory respite from all the excitement. Per the tradition of the Kingdom of Glenmore she and her betrothed, Prince Jacob, were wed at dawn in the same chapel that her father and grandfather and many more ancestors before that were married in. The ceremony wouldn't be fully complete until tonight after the grand feast, attended by all the nobility of the surrounding kingdoms, when her ambitious young prince would join her up in her chambers and consummate the marriage.
For now, though, she waited, pacing back and forth. The prince and his retinue had gone on a hunt, as was custom before a grand feast. Sophie was supposed to be left alone in quiet contemplation, something which was most certainly not her strong suit. Instead she fussed with her dress and adjusted her makeup until it was perfect.
Though the hunt was conducted by most of the men in the wedding party it was not attended by Princess Sophie's father, the king, and his most important nobles who had retired to his council room to discuss a new threat to the kingdom. Rumors of an enormous Mongol army had been trickling in from the East for months. Thousands of unstoppable barbarian warriors had sacked city after city on their interminable march from a mysterious capital in faraway lands. No one could stop them. The strongest castles in the known world had fallen in mere weeks under their onslaught.
Then, just two days before his only child's marriage, the king received an envoy from the Mongolian Khan. Surrender his lands and his crown and acknowledge the might of the Mongolian Empire or be destroyed, the envoy had said. The king, furious at the threat, had the diplomat's tongue cut out before sending him back to the Khan with his refusal. The Mongolian army was reported to be at least two week's march away, so the wedding went ahead as planned. Meanwhile, the king had sent messengers to every corner of the kingdom to muster an army that would stand against the barbarian invasion. He had hoped that with the marriage of his daughter to the neighboring king's son, Prince Jacob, it would cement their kingdoms together and create a force capable of withstanding the threat.
Princess Sophie walked to the open window of her tower and thrust it open for a breath of fresh air. Curiously, she heard a faint rumbling. She looked out in the distance and saw a cloud of dust rising just over the horizon. Suddenly, a horn blast emanated from the guardhouse on the wall in front of her tower. She saw the guards scramble out of their barracks and grab their weapons. They gathered on the walls and watched as the largest army anyone had ever seen galloped in over the plains. At its head was a Mongolian general clad in intricate silver armor, riding a huge black horse.
Sophie turned as the door to her chambers swung open and the king came in. He ran to the window and looked out. "My God," he said. "It's impossible. How did they get here so fast?" He slumped down. The regal confidence that he normally wore on his face was gone. "We're lost," he muttered then he looked to Sophie.
"Daddy, who are these men? Why are they ruining my wedding?" Sophie demanded. The princess had led a spoiled life. Anything that she wanted, her father gave her. She saw the invading army as a personal affront to a day that was supposed to be all about her.
"You must take this," the king said, ignoring his daughter's pouting. Sophie looked down as he thrust into her hand the Dagger of Cassis. The jewel encrusted dagger had been in the possession of every King of Glenmore for the past five hundred years. It was said that no man could be elevated to king unless he held the dagger at his coronation. "This castle will fall. You must hide the dagger somewhere safe and give it to Prince Jacob once he has gathered an army to repel these monsters. Together you two will need to rebuild the kingdom. Stay safe, my child."
The king ran out of the room so that he could equip his armor and lead what few troops he had in the defense of the castle.
The battle did not last long. Sophie didn't watch. She groomed her dress and adjusted her makeup in the mirror, waiting for the annoyance to pass. She had closed the shutters on her window and locked the door, but she couldn't shut out the sounds of combat. She hummed loudly to herself as she heard the gallop of horses, the barbarian battle cries, the sounds of men dying. There was a loud 'boom' as the main gate crashed open and the horde of enemy soldiers poured in. She began to grow fearful as the sounds of combat grew closer. She heard the clang of swords echoing up the steps leading to her tower as her guards fought to repel the attackers. Then there was a crash as the door to her chambers exploded into splinters and the enemy general, whose glistening silver armor was now soaked in blood, strode in. A broad smile spread across his face as he leered at the frightened maiden before him.
Three years later...
The torchlight in the dungeons made General Subutai look like some sort of mythical monster, not that he needed much help. Years of hard-fought battles and rough living had taken its toll on the man. His body was a map of scars and wounds that traced his path from the steppes of Asia to the forests of Europe. His long black hair was pulled back into an intricate braid. His enormous muscles flexed as he put on his robe.
"Is everything ready?" he asked in his deep, commanding voice.
"Yes, General," his lieutenant replied. "The baggage train is packed. Fresh horses, the fastest in the army, are ready for you and your commanders. The army will follow you at its best pace. The men are excited to see the steppes once again."
"Yes. As am I," Subutai said. "I just wish it was under better circumstances." He turned to the third occupant in the room, who had remained silent this entire time, though it was obvious why.
Princess Sophie was crammed uncomfortably into the small cage that had been her nearly constant home for the past three years. She knelt across the bars on the bottom of the cage, her head held low and her ass raised up high. Her head protruded from a hole in one end, a large iron ring gag had been forced in behind her teeth and buckled into place. The cage was hung from the ceiling by a sturdy chain keeping Sophie at waist height. It would have swung freely but for the way it was anchored to the floor. Sophie's generous tits had been pressed through the bars at the bottom of the cage. Heavy clamps held relentlessly tight to the girl's bruised nipples. A chain ran from each clamp to a ring bolted to the floor. The chains were short enough that they were pulled taut, stretching Sophie's tits into tortured cones and preventing the cage from swinging even a little bit.
The princess might have found relief for her abused tits if she could have lowered her hips. Unfortunately for Sophie her rear was pinned in place by two thick wooden rods affixed to the back of the cage. The thicker of the two rods was buried deep in her pussy. It had been left intentionally unsanded, leaving the poor princess terrified to move lest she catch a splinter from its surface.
The rod pressed into Sophie's ass was mercifully thinner. But before it had been forcefully inserted the princess had had her ass filled to the utmost with piping hot water. Oh, how the tortured woman had howled and thrashed as ounce after ounce was squeezed into her abused hole until finally she was stoppered up with the rod.
Her hands had been pulled up out of the way high on her back in a reverse prayer position. The ropes affixed to her wrists were tied tightly against a leather strap that had been braided into the princess's formerly luxurious blond curls. This had the effect of pulling the girl's head back at a severe angle, all the better for sucking the general's cock, as she had recently finished doing.
A dribble of semen was still rolling its way down her chin as the general turned to her and said, "Unfortunately I must leave you, my slave. The Khan has died and by tradition his funeral must be attended in our homeland by all his senior commanders. We must leave in great haste, otherwise I would consider bringing you with me. You have served me well as my plaything these past years."
Sophie shuddered as he ran his fingered tenderly along her back. Then she jumped as he suddenly pinched a fresh bruise on her ass. This would have sent the cage swinging, but a sharp tug at her nipples from the attached clamps and chains absorbed the movement. Sophie groaned in pain.
"Now I will take my leave," Subutai stated. "You have been fed and watered," he said gesturing to the cum dripping from her mouth and her swollen belly from the enema. "I am sure your people will find you soon. Perhaps if the new Khan allows it we will meet again someday when I return to finish my conquest of the western kingdoms."
The general turned and left the dungeon, his lieutenant followed soon after. He took the torch with him leaving Sophie to suffer in darkness.
Prince Jacob watched in disbelief as he saw the last of the barbarian occupiers retreat into the distance. He had been fortunate three years ago to avoid the sudden onslaught of the Mongolian army while his hunting party had been deep in the king's forest. The castle had fallen before he could make it back to aide in its defense. For the next few weeks he had hid in the forest as he watched the barbarians loot and pillage the kingdom. One by one the surviving members of the castle garrison were slain, their bodies hung from the castle walls as a warning against any resistance from the populace.
For three long years he roamed the kingdom from village to village seeking support from the locals to drive off the invaders. But after so much time he had rallied fewer than two hundred men to his cause. The people were afraid. The barbarians seemed unstoppable. And what's more, the invaders made it clear that if the people obeyed then they would be left in peace.
Now he rode triumphantly into the castle at the head of his small band of men. He set them to work on clearing out any vestige of the previous occupiers and he called for a grand feast for that evening to celebrate. He then headed to the council room to plan for his coronation and ascension to a throne that had been denied him for three long years.
Not an hour later a breathless servant came running into his chambers. "Sire," he said, "We've found survivors locked away in the dungeon. Princess Sophie is among them!"
Jacob was dumbstruck, he had assumed his wife was a casualty amidst the initial invasion. "This is excellent news," he exclaimed. "I thought she had been lost to the barbarians long ago. With her by my side my legitimacy as ruler of this kingdom will not be in doubt."
Back when the Mongols attacked the king had managed to slip a runner out of the castle to warn Jacob and his hunting party. The messenger had told Jacob that the Dagger of Cassis had been entrusted to the princess. When there was no sign of the princess after the invasion Jacob had assumed that the dagger had been lost forever.
"Gather as many attendants as you can find," Jacob ordered the servant. "See to it that Princess Sophie gets anything that she needs. Clean her up and get her ready. I would like to see her at tonight's feast. Perhaps we may finally consummate the marriage denied to me for so long."
The servant scurried out of the room to follow the orders. Jacob smiled to himself. This was perfect. Once Sophie told him where she had hidden the dagger he would present it at his coronation and there would be no doubt that he was the man to lead the kingdom.
Several hours later Jacob and his retinue had gathered in the great hall for the feast. The attendees laughed and joked as the wine and beer flowed freely. The cooks had worked wonders and the head table was piled high with the finest foods from throughout the kingdom. Jacob waited impatiently for the arrival of Princess Sophie. The last time that he had seen her was three years ago on their wedding day. She had looked beautiful then, her golden hair shimmered, her cheeks blushed a healthy pink, her blue eyes sparkled like sapphires, and the dress she wore hugged her curvy figure in a way that made Jacob yearn for their wedding night.
Suddenly the doors to the great hall swung open. A herald stepped forward and announced the arrival of Princess Sophie. The gathered crowd grew completely silent. Everyone turned to see. Then as Sophie appeared there was a collective gasp.
The woman who walked in was undoubtedly Princess Sophie. Her golden curls still shimmered, though her hair had been crudely and unevenly cut to shoulder length. Her face clearly showed the years of stress she had endured, her cheeks no longer glowed, her eyes no longer sparkled. The princess gazed submissively at the floor with a faraway look. She wore a simple white shift, her slippers dragged on the floor as she slowly walked to the head table and was guided to her seat next to Prince Jacob.
The dumbfounded man took a close look at his bride and could see scars and bruises all over. "My darling," he said. "You have endured great suffering, but that is over now and you will be my queen. Tell me, where did you hide the Dagger of Cassis?"
Sophie did not respond to his question. She continued to stare downward at the table. Jacob, thinking that perhaps she hadn't heard him grabbed her shoulder and turned her towards him. As he did so Sophie gasped and recoiled, expecting a blow that didn't come.
Jacob turned to his servant. "What has happened? Why is she like this?" he demanded.
"I do not know, sire," he replied. "She was in pretty bad shape when we found her. Clearly the barbarians showed her no mercy. She has not said a single word since we've released her and she shies away from every touch."
Jacob looked to Sophie with disgust. He needed her to tell him where the dagger was, otherwise the people of the kingdom would doubt his legitimacy and he would spend his reign beset by usurpers. She was useless to him in her current state.
"Perhaps I can be of assistance," a voice said from the crowd.
Jacob looked up. "Who said that?" he asked.
"It was I, my lord." A frail, stooped man stepped forth. It took a moment for Jacob to recognize the man. It was Yoric, the previous king's eunuch and senior bureaucrat. He had survived the barbarian occupation and had been pressed into service for the Mongolian general. He was among those who had been rescued from the dungeons earlier that day.
"Yoric? Is it really you?" Jacob asked.
"Yes indeed, sir," he replied. "The barbarian general kept me at his side nearly every day. And I must report that he spent many of those days in the dungeons with the princess. She has endured tortures that defy the imagination. Her early defiance made her a favorite plaything of the general."
"When the castle first fell," he continued, "the princess demanded that he leave. She cursed and fought with the general for ruining her wedding. In return the general had Princess Sophie stripped naked and locked in a set of stocks in the courtyard. For the next week every surviving member of the garrison was ordered under the threat of a slow death to give the princess three cane strokes to her ass and then to fuck her. Very few refused."
Jacob thought back to the hundreds of men he had seen hung from the castle walls after the invasion and then looked at Sophie.
"Before he left yesterday," Yoric explained, "the barbarian general ordered the princess not to speak until she has had an orgasm."
Jacob raised an eyebrow at the unusual command. He turned to Sophie. "You are free of that wretched beast. You may speak. Tell me, where is the Dagger of Cassis?"
The attention was too much for the princess. She pulled her legs up to her chest and mentally withdrew. Jacob looked to his servant in frustration. "Perhaps this day has been too much for her. Take her to my chambers. Maybe she will tell me her secrets in private. Or perhaps I shall fulfill the requirements of the barbarian," he said with a wink. The assembled men laughed at the implication as the princess was escorted from the hall.
The celebration went late into the night. Jacob did not stay until the end though. After a short while he retired to his chambers to finally consummate his marriage and also to wrest the secret hiding spot from his wife. Whatever plans he had though were quickly curtailed when he arrived in his bedroom. Princess Sophie sat alone on the floor sobbing into her knees. When Jacob touched her shoulder she began to scream like a banshee.
After several attempts to assuage his bride the prince relented, he slammed his fist to table in frustration. The sudden violence calmed and focused Sophie, but she still would not respond to him. He shunted Sophie to bed and resolved to try again the next day. But his troubles did not end there. Sophie tossed and turned all night. For the few minutes that she did sleep, her mind was filled with nightmares that left her kicking and moaning until she finally startled herself awake.
Jacob tried again in the morning, but was again rebuffed by his frazzled sleep-deprived wife. Exhausted himself, Jacob left to hold court. He gathered with his closest advisors to report that he had failed to locate the dagger. When he asked for their advice he was met with blank stares. But then Yoric once again stepped forward.
"My Lord, perhaps I can help," he said. "The princess has spent so long under the control of the barbarians that she has forgotten the touch of civilized company. The only touch she is familiar with is a hard one. If you'll allow me, sire, I can get Sophie to sleep through the night tonight."
With no other option, Jacob agreed. "Very well," he told Yoric. "Do what you will. I shall retire shortly after sundown tonight. I expect my wife to be peacefully asleep when I get to my chambers."
Jacob turned to the other business of the kingdom while Yoric scurried out of the room to gather the things he needed.
Jacob spent his day with his council discussing matters of the kingdom: raising an army, taxing the populace, securing the support of the nobles. Before dinner a servant arrived to report that he had heard suspicious noises coming from the royal chambers. Several attendants had heard grunts and screams coming from the rooms. Jacob asked if Yoric was with Sophie and was told that he was.
"Then leave them be," Jacob ordered. "Yoric is performing a task of the utmost importance for this kingdom. I must extract the location of the Dagger of Cassis if my claim to the throne is to be accepted."
Some time later Jacob walked up the steps to his bed chambers. As he did he noticed the silence. He had half expected to hear his damaged wife meekly sobbing. Her weakness was beginning to annoy him.
Jacob reached the top of the stairs and swung the door open. His jaw dropped at the sight before him. There was a large wooden frame supporting a three foot long ladder held horizontal to the floor. Princess Sophie was strapped to the underside of the ladder at about waist height. The woman was held in place by thick leather straps around her chest and abdomen. Her arms were folded up behind her and locked to the bars of the ladder. Her legs, too, had been folded up and secured to the ladder, but not before the woman's ass had received what looked to be a severe paddling. Jacob could see the glowing red flesh slowly fading to a dark purple.
Protruding from the restrained woman's anus was a long metal hook which was tied to Sophie's head via her ragged blond braid. The rope was short enough that it forced the princess's head back at a severe angle, straining both her neck and her stretched asshole. What Jacob couldn't see was that on the tip of the hook buried in his wife's ass was a fist sized metal ball that had been forced in.
Underneath Sophie, swaying gently with each breath, was a set of heavy metal nipple clamps. The jaws of the clamps crushed her bruised nipples and pulled at her ample breasts which had been pockmarked with welts from both a cane and a whip.
Somehow despite the strict bondage Jacob saw that Sophie's eyes were closed and the woman was asleep. Dried tears streaked down her face to the strap of the large ballgag rammed into her overfull mouth.
Jacob turned as he heard a sound in the corner of the room. He saw Yoric sitting casually on a stool, polishing a thick wooden paddle.
"What have you done? This woman is your queen!" Jacob demanded in a harsh whisper.
Yoric set aside the paddle and walked closer to Jacob. "I beg your forgiveness, my lord. But this was the only way to bring peace to your wife. She has known no comfort for the past three years. Bondage was her bedclothes and the kiss of the whip was her goodnight kiss. She has grown accustomed to sleeping soundly only after a harsh punishment has left her exhausted. You may disagree with my methods, but can you argue with the results?"
Jacob took another glance at the abused woman sleeping soundly in front of him. "I suppose not," he said. "But was such cruelty necessary?"
"What you see here is nothing compared to what the barbarian general was capable of," Yoric replied. "In his time with her he shaped her mind. She cannot know pleasure without pain. She now finds freedom in restraint, comfort in terror. And she can have no peace without fear."
Jacob was beginning to understand. "You have done well, Yoric. I thank you."
Yoric turned to leave, but stopped at the door. "If you wish to find the Dagger of Cassis you will have to give your wife what she now desires, my lord."
Both Jacob and Sophie slept peacefully that night. Jacob in his bed and Sophie suspended in strict bondage from the rack. Jacob woke at first light. He walked over to the fireplace and stoked the fire to stave off the morning chill. He sat down in a chair and contemplated the figure before him. Sophie, despite her predicament, seemed to be resting peacefully. The nipple clamps still swayed gently with each breath. A small stream of drool seeped out from behind her ballgag.
Then, as if she could feel Jacob's eyes upon her, Sophie startled awake. The nipple clamps rattled noisily as Sophie jerked, forgetting where she was. She moaned as she attempted to stretch the crick in her neck, which only served to further stretch her hooked asshole. She saw Jacob out of the corner of her eye and pleaded with her eyes to be released.
Jacob stood up to comply. He walked around the other side of the rack and unstrapped Sophie's legs. With a sigh of relief she dropped her feet to the floor, her toes just barely touching the ground. Jacob moved to release her hands next, then paused. He saw a basket near the door which had not been there the night before. He walked over to it and read the attached note:
"Give her what she now desires," it said.
Jacob pulled back the cover of the basket and saw a bevy of miscellaneous torture devices. He glanced at the contents and then at the woman bound to the rack nearby. Sophie was trying to maintain her footing to relieve herself from the tight hold of the straps. As she did so, her pussy wriggled seductively back and forth, inviting him to partake.
Jacob felt his cock stir. He pulled the basket over near the rack. Sophie jumped in her bonds as she felt Jacob's rough hands brush against her pussy.
"Are you ready to tell me your secrets?" he whispered into her ear. He leaned forward and unfastened her gag. Sophie flexed her aching jaw, but did not answer. Though she did groan as Jacob, standing behind her now aggressively mauled her purple, bruised butt cheeks. He continued to explore her body with his hands, tugging at the hook buried in her ass, pinching the welts on her thighs, squeezing her tits.
Sophie's moans went up an octave as his hands found the nipple clamps and he tugged at them. Jacob's now erect cock brushed against her pussy while he teased and tortured Sophie. He was surprised to find that despite the abuse, Sophie's cunt was getting wet.
"Does this turn you on?" he asked derisively. "Should I fuck you like that barbarian savage?"
He pressed his stiff cock into her quivering pussy, relishing the sensation of the wriggling woman writhing beneath him. But after a few strokes he withdrew. Despite Sophie's apparent arousal he could sense that she was holding back, resisting the pleasure that was building inside her. He went to the basket that Yoric had left him and picked a stranded leather whip. He reentered her pussy and now timed a slash of the whip with each thrust.
Sophie's pain and excitement increased. She was soon moaning in pleasure as well as pain as her back was colored in bright red stripes. Jacob tossed away the whip and rammed his cock into Sophie's hole all the way, then he leaned forward and grabbed a nipple clamp with each hand. Sophie's moans turned to screams as he roughly pulled the clamps free from her nipples without first pressing them open. The jaws tore and twisted at her flesh as they ripped their way off. He could feel her pussy clench and massage his cock as her entire body tightened. Her reaction left Jacob thirsting for more abuse that he could mete out.
He turned once more to Yoric's basket of goodies. He reached in blindly, but pulled back his hand when he felt something sting. He looked at what it was and smiled. He donned a pair of leather gloves, grabbed the item which had stung him and walked around in front of Sophie. Through years of training Sophie instinctively craned her head forward to pull Jacob's stiff cock into her eager mouth. When Jacob saw that the anal hook tied to her hair was degrading her ability to bob up and down on his member he reached forward and untied her braid from the hook.
While Sophie obediently busied herself with the greatest blowjob of Jacob's life, he picked up the bundle of stinging nettles he had found and lifted it up over his head. Sophie, either too dedicated to her task or recognizing that she could do nothing about it anyway, did not react. Jacob brought the leafy branches down onto Sophie's unprotected ass. She suppressed a squeal as a rash of red bumps were raised on her upturned ass, which was still severely bruised after the previous day's paddling. And yet she kept at her task, bobbing up and down on Jacob's cock.
Jacob brought the bundle down again and again against Sophie's defenseless backside. Soon every inch of exposed flesh was awash in irritated red bumps. He pulled his cock free from Sophie's experienced lips and discarded the used up nettles. He was drunk with lust and knew that he wouldn't last much longer under his bride's skillful performance. He looked once more to the basket of goodies for one final item to put him, and hopefully Sophie, over the edge.
As he rummaged through the myriad items something caught his eye by the fireplace. An evil image raced through Jacob's mind and without thinking he strode over to the hearth and removed the fire poker which he had left resting in the hot coals. He picked it up and saw that the tip was glowing faintly red. Sophie saw him inspect the implement and her indifferent facade cracked ever so slightly. She started to beg 'no', but caught herself before more than the start of the word left her mouth... her barbarian master's command remained powerfully locked within her mind.
Jacob retook his position with his cock poised near Sophie's quivering, wet pussy. He pressed himself inside as he lowered the hot poker just above her skin. She shuddered in anticipation. He stroked his cock in and out a few more times, then without warning dragged the tip of the poker across Sophie's back. He felt her pussy tense and massage his cock as Sophie howled an inhuman scream. He thrust in and out a few more times, then leaned over and picked up Sophie's foot. He rammed his cock in and out like a jackhammer as he pressed his hot poker onto the bottom of Sophie's foot. She shrieked and struggled as her flesh sizzled, but as she did so Jacob felt her pussy clench like never before. He came, blasting his load inside her and Sophie yelled out, "Oh, yes, I'm cumming!"
Both participants slumped in spent ecstasy. The poker rattled harmlessly to the floor as Jacob withdrew from Sophie's pussy, his cum dribbling out behind it. Jacob recollected himself, donned his robe, and walked around front of Sophie.
"Now that I have freed you of that savage's ridiculous requirement, will you tell me where the Dagger of Cassis is?" he asked.
Sophie ceased her soft sobbing as her husband addressed her. "Yes, my lord," she replied. "If you will unbind me then I shall retrieve it this very moment."
Jacob quickly got to work releasing the remaining bondage from Sophie. He pulled free the anal hook with a 'pop' and undid the straps holding her to the rack. He guided Sophie to the floor where she took a moment to stretch her cramped muscles. She was careful not to put any weight on her battered ass or bruised tits.
Jacob could feel his heart pounding in his chest as Sophie stood and hobbled over to a tapestry mounted on the wall of the bedchamber. She pulled it back and began counting bricks, pausing at one about waist height. With her fingers she pulled what turned out to be a cleverly disguised false brick from the wall. Jacob could barely contain his glee.
"All this time the dagger has been hiding in these chambers?" he asked incredulously.
He saw the glint of the ruby pommel as Sophie withdrew the dagger from the hollow stone. He got up out of his chair and swiftly moved to retrieve the dagger. He hurried up behind her, eager to see the dagger for himself.
Sophie turned. With a sudden surge of quickness she thrust the dagger out, driving it hard between Jacob's ribs. The man staggered, then looked down at his bleeding chest in surprise. Sophie's cold blue eyes stared back at him.
"Why?" Jacob gasped as he collapsed onto the bed.
"Only my master may fuck my pussy. He has ordered me to kill anyone who enters me without his permission. He has also ordered me not to cum," she said, the distress growing in her voice as she said the last sentence. "I must go find him so that I can be properly punished." She released her hold on the dagger, leaving it buried in Jacob's ribs, then she ran from the room. The last anyone ever saw of Princess Sophie was as she mounted a horse and raced swiftly eastward, toward the rising sun.