The trip down to the dungeon passed as quickly to her as the blink of an eye and the Countess was pleased that by the time she arrived, everything was arranged exactly as she had requested. The Iron Maiden had been removed from it’s dais and now sat on the floor, facing the small wooden stand. Naturally, the food left for the girl, Ildikó, earlier that day had been drugged and she had since been bathed and stripped, and now restrained inside the Maiden, the doors still open.
Erzsébet stepped up onto the platform and stared down at her prey, the glow from several torches illuminating behind her. And waited.
“Your skin is such an odd golden colour,” she murmured as the youth eventually began to show the first hints of consciousness. “It’s as if you’ve somehow soaked up a measure of the sun – so different from the others. It makes you quite beautiful, you know. Very appealing… desirable despite your leanness.”
The girl opened her eyes with great difficulty and gazed blearily up at her captor.
“It is such a struggle to stay young,” the Countess continued, holding out a hand which a soldier immediately took to help her back down to the floor. “The very efforts of doing so are in themselves taxing, requiring a never-ending search. I have always known that the best blood comes from pure young girls, but you…”
Slowly, she circled the contraption, enjoying the emotions readily displayed on Ildikó’s face as she became increasingly aware of her situation and how futile it truly was. “I’m told you are not as other normal girls, that you possess special abilities. What benefits might I reap from one such as you, so strong, so healthy, so different. What longevity?”
The girl made an effort to speak, but was prevented by her gag. Erzsébet stopped briefly to watch in mild amusement and then resumed her pacing. “Normally I have serving girls readied for me in numerous ways. Heated pinchers or branding generally gets the blood flowing quite richly. But you…” Countess Bathory’s voice trailed off, letting the thought go unfinished. It didn’t need to be. “I think it would be best not to blister such lovely skin, don’t you?”
Finally, Erzsébet stepped back, once again facing the girl. “You showed such interest in my precious Iron Maiden earlier that I decided you should experience it firsthand, without all the bothersome distractions that preparation would entail.”
A look of horror crossed Ildikó’s face, as it became apparent that with those words, she only just realized that she was already strapped to the device. The Countess gave the briefest of nods and then slowly, two guards began to push the doors of the Maiden shut.
Victorious, Countess Bathory soon lifted a goblet within the girl’s view and offered a silent toast to her dying victim, before treating Ildikó to the last sight she would ever see – her own blood being consumed.
And Erzsébet couldn’t stop smiling.
[All dialogue taken directly from Tales of the Slayer Vol 1: die Blutgrafin by Yvonne Navarro.]