Adrian stood next to Ben Abner in his study room on the second floor of the castle. Abner sometimes jokingly called it his throne room in contrast to his smaller office down in the administration building. The study indeed had lobby-like dimensions, but Adrian liked the fact that his superior had skipped extreme pompousness when furnishing. It was clearly a scholar’s room. The field of his research, however, was quite unusual. On the other hand, Adrian thought it was very obvious that they dealt with modern warfare at the castle.
Of course, it was about his passion, about what was commonly called BDSM. It was about sadism and masochism, dominance and submission, lust and pain – or, in other words, everything that made sex and life remarkable and exciting.
Whoever entered Abner’s office was surrounded by outstanding curiosities and antiques. Every object could tell a bizarre and often bloodthirsty story. Adrian knew some of them and didn’t know some others. A whole wall of covered in punishment instruments. An eye-catcher in the middle of the exhibits was a rolled-up bullwhip. The handle was adorned with pearls and diamonds all over. A single, bulky gemstone was also attached to the tip. It must have caused horrible injuries when the whip was still in use. In the 18th century, it had belonged to the wife of a French plantation owner in Saint-Domingue. Then came the slave revolt in 1791. Abner had told him that she was allegedly whipped to death by it herself.
The silver crown of thorns, which stood in a showcase at the window, had belonged to an Italian abbot in the 19th century. His boytoys had to wear it if they were not godly enough to serve him. The dried brown stains testified to the diligent use.
On a shelf behind Abner’s desk, dozens of different masks looked down at the visitor through empty eye sockets. Medieval shame masks were among them, as well as modern SM latex masks and probably most of what resourceful torturers and creative sadists had devised in the ages in between.
But Abner’s latest hobby was antiquity. At their last meeting, he had raved to Adrian about a 2.700-year-old Etruscan tomb painting. It showed a woman who was whipped in a love game. Abner even wanted to encourage the organization to fund its own excavations and archaeological research projects in this direction.
Inside, Adrian allowed himself a lenient smile. The money would have been better invested to the new modern night vision cameras at the wall between inner and outer zones, in his opinion. He’d bring it up again at their weekly meeting today. Adrian knew that his superior also wanted to discuss some important points. But at the moment, he seemed to be in no hurry. So, they both looked out of the window, which offered a wide view over the lawn in front of the castle.
There, Holly Rüschenberg and her three maidboys had just brought out the ten new arrivals. Bravely, hand in hand, they marched onto the lawn and were commanded to stop almost directly under Adrian and Abner. His bear girl marched next to her friend, the chubby redhead. He believed he could see that Anne was particularly attentive to what was going on around her. Once she also looked up at her window. But she didn’t seem to notice Abner or him. Maybe it was the weather. The windows were wet with rain.
While the ten new betas had started their “holiday stay” yesterday under a warm Moldovan summer sun, this afternoon they had to make do with a lead-grey cloudy sky and drizzle. The sun had dissappeared at noon as if it had suddenly seen more than enough of this strange place. In the fine drizzle – typical for many Moldovan summer days, Adrian thought – the thin tracksuits quickly stuck to the bodies of the pupils. Uneasily, some of them kept plucking the soaked fabric over their breasts or between their legs. A sharp scold from Holly Rüschenberg put an end to such prudery.
Then she ordered the girls to line up. Inept, but very assiduous – the whips of the boys undoubtedly spurred them on to top performance – the betas lined up in front of Holly. Her striking, but the rather quiet voice could only be heard vaguely through the window. But Adrian had observed her often enough at work to have her tone of voice and choice of words right in his ear. She was a master of her trade and Adrian greatly appreciated her, as did his superior, the lord of the castle, Ben Abner. After seven months as head of security, he was even more of a fatherly friend to him than a boss.
The 35-year-old ex-soldier and the 59-year-old psychologist hardly had anything in common. Perhaps it was precisely these differences that attracted them to each other. Abner had made it his business to make Adrian a master of passion. In addition – and this was almost more important – he explained to him the fine gear train of the Magnus organisation.
After the death of Friedrich Magnus ten years prior, a secret council of seven people headed the organization. That’s how Magnus set it before he died. Except for a small circle of initiates, no one knew who belonged to the council. If one of its members died or retired for other reasons, the others chose a new one.
The few people who knew the members of the secret Council had the task of implementing the Council’s decisions. They were called generals within the organization. Friedrich Magnus had worked for many years as a psychologist for the Ministry of Defence and NATO. Adrian suspected that it was why he chos…