Ardour: An Erotic Steampunk Story (2 page)

The curtain lifted as the
gaslights lowered until there was only a single limelight pointed at the stage.
Out stepped two women wearing the most salacious outfits I’d ever seen. They
wore black pantaloons that were little more than knickers, frilled and covered
in sparkling jewels. Their chests were bare except for carved jet circles which
had been positioned over their nipples. The band in the pit struck up and the
women began to dance, moving slowly to the wings and each returning holding a tall
glass of ardour. As the crowd cheered they linked arms and poured the drinks
down each other’s throats.

Almost immediately they fell on
each other, the crowd going wild at the sight before them. I had known that Ardour
had become more debauched in recent times but this show shocked me to my core.
As I stared in silence the blonde woman tore the clothes from the redhead. I
caught sight of the first naked woman I’d ever seen apart from when I’d
observed myself in the mirror. She looked distinctly different to me. Her
breasts were far larger, the jet nipple covers flung to one side to reveal
hardened flesh that was dark brown and sent shudders of excitement through my
body. Her knickers were ripped off and tossed into the crowd as she was flung
onto her back.

The blonde woman knelt between
her legs and began an action I can only describe as being like that of a
mechcat licking oilcream. “Oh my,” I inadvertently blurted out.

I almost screamed as I felt a
hand upon my knee before remembering I was not alone in the box. I had been so
distracted by the show I had forgotten about Esmerelda but she had not
forgotten about me. Her hand remained on my knee as she leaned towards me in
the darkness and whispered in my ear. “What do you think of the performance?”

“Is this what ardour does to
people?” I whispered back.

“Ardour is a myth. It’s just a
syrup of cherries mixed with junipers.”

“What? But why are they doing
such things if there is not the influence of ardour involved?”

“People sometimes need an excuse
to relax their inhibitions. I personally need nothing other than the love of a
good woman. Are you a good woman?”

I shook my head, thinking of how
many times I’d fired my fusegun in the last year. “No, no I am not.”

“Well I sometimes like bad women
too.” Her hand slid up from my knee along my leg towards my tightly crossed
thighs.

“What are you doing?” I asked,
trying to push her hand away.

“Do you truly wish me to stop?
Merely say the word and I will leave you alone forever more.”

I thought for a moment and then
my hand folded onto the top of hers, our fingers entwining. I could not look at
her, my shame at my own desires being too overwhelming. Instead I stared at the
stage where a gentleman had joined the women. I realised it was the man who’d
handed me the money in my pocket, assuming me to be the one who’d killed the
mayor. His penis was sticking out from his trousers which looked both obscene
and amusing as his outfit was otherwise undisturbed.

The two women were both naked by
now and they knelt on all fours facing away from the audience so their peachy
round bottoms and just a hint of pussy was visible to the roaring crowd. The
man took his erection in his hand and knelt behind the blonde woman, looking
back over his shoulder and winking to the crowd, saying something but I could
not hear the words over the screams that echoed round the auditorium.

“Quickly,” Esmerelda said,
getting to her feet. “While he is occupied. Come!”

“But…”I began, taking a final
glance at the stage as the man slid himself into the woman. I felt tingles deep
inside me at the sight but I saw no more as Esmerelda took me by the hand and
led me back to the autostairs. We descended at speed and she crammed a piece of
parchment into my hands before ushering me back into the foyer. “Will I see you
again?” I asked as she turned away. “I must see you again.”

“I will come to you when it is
done,” she replied as she glanced around her before disappearing back down the
corridor, the door autoclosing behind her.

I walked as calmly as I could
towards the bar to find Jared wasn’t there. He was instead standing by the
curtain that led into the auditorium, oblivious to my approach as he stared at
the stage in the distance.

I was about to tap him on the
shoulder when I looked past him and froze to the spot. The show had moved on
since I’d been in the box and now the man was laid on his back and the redhead
was riding him as if he were a mechstallion, bouncing up and down on the shaft
of his tool whilst the blonde woman sat on the man’s head, grinding her body
agasint his face as the audience threw roses onto the stage.

“Oh it’s you,” Jared said,
turning to face me and looking guilty as if he’d been caught watching something
unsavoury, which I supposed he had. “Where have you been?”

I briefly told him what had
occurred and together we walked as slowly as we could towards the entrance so
as not to arouse suspicion. Once outside we waited until the steamcrate was
airbound before unrolling the parchment.

“This is the last will and
testament of Edwin Gauge and I wish it to also serve as my confession. That
which you know as ardour is nought but a placebo. I was responsible for its
creation with Mr William Hawkins and the profits made from the sale therein. I
wish the money made by myself and William Hawkins, proprietor of Ardour music
hall to be donated to the people of the gutter so that their condition may be
improved.

I have visited the gutter in
secret for many years and observed the degradation and poverty in which the inhabitants
live and it shames me to think Gauge Industries played a hand in such things.
As such I desire schools, orphanages, shops, parks, autolanding bays, all the
things that are needed to create a civilised society in the gutter once more.
Hawkins disagrees with my plans and I fear he has sent one to follow me to
dissuade me from my decision.

I give this to my daughter for
safekeeping as she is the only one in this world whom I can trust and she has
agreed to handle the execution of my wishes and the disposal of my fortune in
the way I desire. I wish the following to take place in the event of my death.”

The parchment went on, listing
most of the assets of Gauge and how they should best be disposed of. I refolded
the document and placed it gently in my pocket.

“You know Hawkins will not rest
until this is in his possession once more,” Jared said as he set the steamcrate
onto the mooring by my window.

“Then we must ensure it reaches
as wide an audience as possible first,” I replied.

“You don’t mean-?”

I nodded. “Time to go to the
council.”

“Why didn’t you say so before,”
Jared said, setting off once more and sending the steamcrate upwards, past the
top of my scraper to the island furthest north, the home of the council.

The sun was rising when we arrived
and I found myself unable to stop thinking of Esmerelda. When we landed in the
central park, the first of the morning’s mechhorses were already at work. We
gathered two and rode them to the council building, finding Esmerelda standing
outside, her face a mass of bruises.

“What happened?” I asked,
dismounting and running over to her as the mechhorse vented steam behind me.
“How did you get here so fast?”

From behind her, the man from the
music hall stepped out, holding a fusegun to her head. “I gave her a lift,” he
said, nodding towards my pocket. “Toss it over here.”

“Toss what? I have nothing of
value.” I could see out of the corner of my eye that Jared had not been
spotted. He moved behind a skydendron bush as I tried to buy us some time.
“Just let Esmerelda go and we can discuss your concerns.”

“Stay still!” he yelled across to
Jared. “Do you think I cannot see you behind there? Come out and join your
companion.”

Jared stepped out from behind the
bush, mouthing sorry at me as he walked over.

“Let her go,” Jared said, taking
a step towards Hawkins.

“Do not toy with me,” Hawkins
replied, waving the fusegun towards us. “I want the will. I know you have it.
She sang like the most pathetic child’s springnightingale. Perhaps I will wind
her and see if she sings again.” He leaned round to her chest and tweaked her
nipple harshly through her top. She let out a yelp as I winced on her behalf.

“All right,” I said, moving my
hand to my pocket. “But there is one thing you should know about me.” I reached
into my pocket and wrapped my fingers round the item within.

“What?”

“I’m a great shot.” I twisted my
hand towards him and pulled the trigger of the fusegun inside my pocket,
tearing a hole in my cloak with the blast. The ray fired through the air and
hit Hawkins square in the forehead, cleaving it in two as everything above his
neck disintegrated. He slumped back against the door of the council building
before sliding down to the ground.

“Oh my goodness,” Esmerelda said,
running forwards and throwing her arms around me. “Thank you so much. I feared
for us all when he dragged me to his steamcrate.”

“Hush,” I said, stroking her hair
as I held her tightly against me. “It’s over now.”

“Not quite,” she replied, leaning
back so she could look at me, tears forming in her eyes. I understood what she
meant as Jared smiled at the two of us. We allowed the mechhorses to take us
back to the steamcrate, leaving the parchment in Hawkins’s pocket, knowing that
would be enough for the council.

Jared took us back down through
the air to Esmerelda’s house on the next skyisland. He bade us good morning and
flew off into the air to arrange the collection of the mayor’s body, leaving me
alone with Esmerelda. She slipped her hand into mine as we walked through the
park near her house, the first of the morning strollers enjoyed their
constitutionals. I only had eyes for Esmerelda and she for me as we made our
way to her front door. She unwound the elaborate springlock with her key and
then we were inside a most palatial home.

The hall was filled with marble
and stained glass, light streaming in from high windows above the front door.
“Welcome to my home,” she said. “What do you think?”

“I think your entrance hall is
the size of my whole house,” I replied, gazing around in wonder.

She smiled at me. “Well I get the
feeling you may be staying here quite often.”

“Oh will I?”

She took a step towards me,
draping her arms over my shoulder. “I hope so.” She planted a kiss on my lips
and it felt as if I were a block of ice set down by the furnace at the heart of
a steamscraper. The feel of her soft lips upon mine was something I shall never
forget, that first perfect kiss. She held me tightly in her arms and I kissed
every one of the bruises on her face whilst she complained bitterly how ugly
they made her appear.

“You…look…beautiful,” I said,
each word interspersed by another embrace. She finally forced me to stop,
leading me up her wide staircase and along a thickly carpeted hall to an
enormous bedroom. Within was a brass four poster bed draped with blankets and
she bade me to sit on it. “Do not move until I say you can,” she said, stepping
back from the bed. I sat in silence as she began to undress. She reached behind
her to untie her corset, manhandling it in a way as comical as it was sensual until
she was able to set free her chest. I stared at her breasts as lust welled up
inside me at the sight of them.

My body grew ever hotter as she
worked off her skirt and petticoats to reveal the thinnest and most expensive
looking knickers I’d ever seen. They were as a gossamer cobweb, mere strands of
fabric that covered little and yet hid the most intriguing part. She turned
away from me and leaned down as she lowered them to her ankles and kicked them
off, exposing her perfect pale bottom.

I had to fight the urge to stand
up as she turned back and walked slowly over to me. “Your turn,” she said,
pulling me to my feet and beginning to undress me. I remained still as she took
my cloak from my shoulders before pulling at the rest of my clothes, kissing each
bit of flesh which became exposed to her gaze.

My nipples felt as hard as the
skin of a mechpigeon as she lowered her lips to them, kissing between them,
under them, over them, every inch of them until I ached for her to move lower.
Instead she continued to tease me, her fingers stroking their way down my back
to my buttocks before gliding down the line between my cheeks, making me shiver
with desire.

I let out a sigh as she flicked
the tip of her finger over the hole which lay hidden between my cheeks but then
she moved on, sliding round to my legs as she sank to her knees and pushed me
back onto the bed. I lay still as she kissed her way up my left foot to my
ankle and then my calf. She paused at my knee and glanced up at me. “Is this a
dream?” she asked.

“I hope not,” I gasped back to
her as she continued kissing her way up my thigh towards my waiting wetness. I
screamed with frustration as she bypassed my pussy and kissed her way up to my
neck, planting an embrace on my lips before moving back down me. She stopped
again at my pussy and this time her tongue flicked down over my clit to my hole
before she worked her way back down my right leg to my foot, sucking each toe
into her mouth in turn.

She again moved her lips up me
and as she reached my pussy, she finally ending her torment of me by plunging
her tongue inside me, lapping at the wetness which seemed to gush from me at
the sensation of her being in my most intimate place.

She moved her mouth up to my clit
as she slid her hand across to her drawer and brought out something I’d heard
of but never seen beyond an engraving in a magazine, an autocock. She switched
on the valve on the base and it began to pump back and forth in her hand,
buzzing loudly as I looked nervously at it. “Will it hurt?” I asked as she
moved it towards my pussy.

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