I was rushed into the yard and tethered to a coach that was headed for the manor houses. I shed disgraceful tears as I tried not to undulate my hips. I lost the battle. And, almost immediately, the other ponies began to laugh and whisper behind their bits: "Like that, Laurent?" and "Doesn’t that feel good, Laurent!" I didn’t answer with the threats that came to mind. There was nobody who could get away from me in the recreation yard, but what kind of a threat was that when most of them didn’t want to?
As we marched out, I couldn’t stand the strain anymore, and I pumped and rolled my hips, trying to ease the itching, the sensation increasing and decreasing in throbbing waves that passed all through me.
Every moment of every hour was underscored by the sensation. It grew no worse; it grew no better. Twisting helped and did not help. And many a villager laughed as he watched me, knowing full well the cause of my ignominious movements. Never had I known such a searing, draining torture.
And by the time I was returned to the stables, I was exhausted. I was unharnessed with the phallus still tied firmly in place, and I fell down on my hands and knees and whimpered at Gareth’s feet, the bit still in my mouth, the reins dragging. "Are you going to be a good boy?" he demanded, his hands on his hips. I nodded passionately.
"Stand up in the door of that stall," he said, "and grab hold of those hooks hanging from the beam.
I obeyed, reaching out for the two hooks, my arms spread wide. I went up on the balls of my feet as I held the hooks. He stood behind me, and, gathering the reins that hung loose from the bit in my mouth, he tied them tight on the back of my head. Then I felt him loosening the phallus, and just that slight shift of it sent exquisite relief from the itching all through me. When he had it out, he opened the oil jug and quickly covered the phallus with oil. I chewed hard on the bit, moans flowing out of me.
Then I felt the phallus again, riding into me, past the hot itching flesh, and I almost died of sheer ecstasy. In and out, he drove it, soothing the itch, exhausting it, driving me into a frenzy. I cried as before but in gratitude. And as I snapped my hips, the phallus rocked inside me, and suddenly I came with great forceful, uncontrollable jerks into the air.
"That’s it," he said, at once dissolving my fear, "that’s it."
I leaned my head against my raised arm. I was his devoted and abandoned slave without reserve. I belonged to him and the stables and the village. There was no division in me, and he knew it.
I did not so much as whimper when he put me back into the pillory.
That night as the other ponies took me, I half-slumbered, wordlessly aware of how much I enjoyed their friendly pats, their tousling of my hair, their swatting me on the rump, telling me what a good steed I was, how they’d each had the awful itching phallus themselves, and that I’d borne it well, considering.
There was a rich echo of the maddening itch now and then as I was raped, but apparently there was not enough of the perfumed liquid left in me to discourage the others.
"What would happen if it was put on our cocks?" I wondered. "Best not to think about that," I told myself.
What I thought about day to day was improving my form, marching better than the other ponies, deciding which coachmen I liked best, which coaches I enjoyed most pulling. I grew to love the other ponies, to understand their state of mind.
Ponies felt safe in their harnesses. They could take any manner of abuse as long as they were confined within their appointed role. It was intimacy that terrified them more than anything, the prospect of being taken out of harness and into some village bedroom where a lone man or woman might talk to them and play with them to his or her heart’s content.
Even the Public Turntable was too intimate for them. They shuddered when they saw the slaves up there being paddled for the crowd. That is why it was such a torment to them when the village boys and girls played with them. Yet they loved nothing more than to pull the chariots in the race on fair day with the whole village watching them. It was what they were "born" to do.
I passed into this state of mind without entirely sharing it. After all, I rather adored the other punishments, too. But I didn’t miss them. I was happier in bit and harness than out of them. And, whereas these other punishments of castle and village life tended to isolate the slave, pony existence drew us together. And we amplified each other’s pleasure and pain.
I became used to all the stable boys, to their jovial greetings and responses. In fact, they were part of the comradery even when they paddled us or tormented us. And it was no secret that they loved their work.
Tristan all this time seemed just as content as I was, and in the recreation yard he admitted this. Things were harder for him; he was more gentle than me by nature.
But the real test and the real change came for him when his former Master, Nicolas, started to hang about.
At first, we saw Nicolas only occasionally passing the wagon yard. And, though I had not been very interested in him on the voyage from the Sultanate, I began to realize he was quite a charming and aristocratic young man. His white hair gave him a special luster; and he always wore velvet as if he were a Lord; and the expression on his face struck terror in the ponies, especially those who had pulled his coach.
After a few weeks of his quiet comings and goings, we started to see him at the gate every day. He was there in the morning, watching when we trotted off, and there at evening when we came back. And, though he pretended to be watching everything around him, his eyes settled on Tristan again and again.
Finally, one afternoon he sent for Tristan to draw a little market cart for him, just the sort of chore that froze my soul. I was scared for Tristan. Nicolas would walk right by him and torment him. I hated to see Tristan harnessed and rigged to the cart. Nicolas stood by with a long, stiff thrash in his hand, the kind that really marks the legs, just studying Tristan as he was bitted and fitted up well. Then he whipped Tristan’s thighs hard to move him out of the yard.
"What a terrible thing for Tristan," I thought. "Tristan is too gentle for these things. If he had a mean streak, as I have, he would know how to handle that imperious wretch. He does not."
Seems I was quite wrong. Not about Tristan’s lack of a mean streak, but about its being a terrible thing.
Tristan wasn’t back to the stables until near midnight. And, after he was fed and massaged and oiled, he told me in low whispers what had happened:
"You know how frightened of him I was," he said, "of his temper, his disappointment in me."
"Yes, go on."
"And for the first few hours he whipped me mercilessly, all through the market. And I tried to be cold, to think only of being a good pony, to put him in the scheme of things, like a star in a constellation. Not to think on who he really was. But I kept thinking of when we had loved each other, he and I. And by noontime I knew I was grateful just to be near him. How wretched it was. He wouldn’t stop whipping me, no matter how well I trotted. And he never spoke a word."