Brinn led me up a flight of stairs which climbed up the side of the building, two stories above the level of Haddiyah Street in Patashqar, and then on to a small balcony of sorts with just a single wooden door ahead of us. He snapped his fingers and pointed to the floor by his side as a reminder of where I was expected to kneel. The street below was quiet for this was far from the busy thoroughfares of the city.
I was dressed in a slave tunic, sleeveless of course, with a relatively modest hem line that reached half way down my thighs. Brinn had bought it for me in the market place the previous day, much to my surprise and he had commanded me to put it on.
“Thank you, Master,” I had said, happy at last to conceal my nudity from passers by on the street.
“Don't thank me – the garment is not for your benefit, Emma, but rather to observe certain standards of respectability, for we are going to meet with a Free Woman tomorrow.” That Free Woman of course was a Kurii agent within Patashqar – the Lady Melinda – the woman whom Seremides had turned to to translate Erin's co-ordinates into a precise geographical location on Gor.
It was interesting that although Brinn obviously considered her to be an enemy, he was conscious that he should not embarrass her by leading a naked pleasure slave into her apartment. Even now I find it hard to understand Gorean men sometimes and their bizarre double standards.
“Do not belt the tunic, Emma. Leave it as it is.”
I looked up, surprised, for I was about to tie the length of binding fibre around my waist, just below my breasts, to make the garment tight about my curves. I assumed my Master would have wanted that.
“You will wear the tunic loose, so as not to flaunt your figure. We are meeting with a Free Woman, remember.”
A Free Woman. I knew how Free Women reacted to slave-girls, especially slave-girls like me. I was scared, for I did not relish meeting her. She would not be happy that I was within her home.
“Please Master, you could chain me to a public slave pole while you meet with the Mistress, yes?” There were public slave poles at regular intervals along the main streets of Patashqar. Slaves could be left there for a number of ahn during daylight hours without too much risk. Leaving a slave-girl chained to such a pole after the sun goes down simply invites men to rape her of course. I would not like to be a slave-girl left chained to such a pole once the sun sets.
“No, Emma, you will stay with me. I may have need of you.”
“But she is Free,” I moaned softly.
“What of it?”
“She will resent me being there. Please, Master...”
“Then I suggest you make every effort not to offend her. She may be my enemy, but she is a Free Woman, and if you offend her sensibilities in any way, I will whip you. Do you understand?”
It is difficult to convey just how scared slave-girls are of Free Women. Invariably they do resent our presence, unless we are perhaps owned by them, and even then the relationship is a strained one. A Free Woman is likely to be petulant, bitter even towards a girl who belongs to a man she converses with. Curiously the typical Gorean man – Brinn included - supports her in this, feeling she has every right to treat slave-girls that way. I knew I would receive no support from Brinn whatsoever if Lady Melinda, or any other Free Woman for that matter, found me objectionable.
Brinn knocked twice on the door as he stood close by, listening for any sound emanating from the other side of the heavy wooden partition.
I had on the previous day left a coded message at Lady Melinda's dead drop as Kurgus had originally taught me to do. A dead drop is simply an inconspicuous and secure spot where messages can be left. Typically, the agent that the message is intended for makes a routine pass of the place each day. A small chalk mark is left at another spot close by if a message is waiting to be collected. This tells the agent to check the dead drop space. Typically the agent then makes his or her own mark when a reply has been left. Some agents may have multiple dead drops in order to maintain anonymity between their contacts. This morning there was a reply waiting for us – a reply that told us to visit a certain apartment on Haddiyah Street just before noon.
We had spent some time observing the comings and goings at the dead drop since there was a respectable street café close by. Brinn would idle away the day drinking, or at least pretending to drink, while I knelt at his table. The café was reasonably busy and so we were inconspicuous for the most part, though I did wonder whether we perhaps lingered there longer than might be normal. Other men and women came and went to the café throughout the day.
By late afternoon our patience had been rewarded when a Free Woman, resplendent in some very pretty gowns of midnight blue with ornate patterning in lighter shades, happened to walk by and, perhaps noticing the small chalk mark left on the nearby wall, happened to pause for a moment by some loose brick work. Brinn and I watched from our vantage point as she quickly picked out the small folded piece of paper wedged between a couple of the loose stones. It was the message that Brinn had instructed me to write, requesting a meeting. I had explained we had just arrived in the city, and that we had a captive that would require transportation back to Corcyrus for interrogation. Furthermore we required assistance with our mission, All of this was within the established protocols that had been outlined to me back at Kurgus's villa.
“Do not attempt to betray me in the note you write,” Brinn had said. “You will be with me when we meet this woman, and at the first sign of a trap I will cut your pretty throat from ear to ear. I haven't forgotten that you are my enemy.”
Brinn was able to relax once we had witnessed the veiled and robed Free Woman stopping to pick up the note from her dead drop. We assumed it was Lady Melinda, though we couldn't be absolutely sure, and Brinn felt confident enough that we would receive a reply the next day that he felt able to finish the stakeout. He took me then to a rather different sort of café in a rather more indecent part of Patashqar. The street of Bachoura is not the sort of street I would have ever dared walk down when I was a Free Woman. Even with a male escort, I would have been foolish to stray that far, for it was in the infamous Bork Abi Haidar district, which famously was lined with the male only cafés that resembled paga taverns in central Gor. Like the paga taverns, these places were drinking venues that doubled as brothels. For the price of a drink (quite reasonably priced I am told) you could also enjoy one of the girls that were owned by the venue. These girls were typically lined up along a display wall, chained by their left ankles to a central bar. A man simply purchased a drink and with it a receipt token, and then inspected the line of lovely beauties. Each girl would have a clip on her collar, attached to which was a metal disc with a collar number. The man simply detached the metal disc and handed it in along with the token to the café owner who would quickly send the girl either to spend time at the man’s feet as he drank at one of the low tables, or to a secluded and curtained alcove if the man wished to take his pleasure in private.
Not all men did, for as I plainly saw when Brinn ushered me in to one such café, several men were happy enough to have sex with the girls in plain view.
“You’ve never been in a place like this before, have you, Emma?”
I shook my head. No I had not! Girls were being subjected to all manner of uses in the open bar area, and from several curtained off alcoves came piteous moans and whimpers as other girls were being fucked in private.
“Master, what are we doing here?” I was frightened by all the noise, and commotion. Here it seemed men did not respect the fact that a girl might belong to a certain Master. A girl who squeezed past groups of men was liable to be noticed, thrown onto her back over a table and simply taken there and then. I saw what amounted to gang rape on one table near the far wall, with the girl squirming enough to send several flasks of paga crashing onto the dusty floor.
“I wish a drink,” said Brinn. “I am thirsty.”
“But Master, you were drinking at the street café opposite the dead drop?” That had been a pleasant café – the sort of café where a modest Free Woman might spend time under one of the sun awnings, gossiping with friends, or maybe meeting a man she was thinking of courting.
“I want a real drink, something strong. Ho, Yusef!” Brinn signalled a scarred man with a cleft skull, possibly from a scimitar wound, who tended the bar. A thick black beard sprouted from his chin, but there was no moustache to go with it. “Paga! A double, you son of a sleen!”
Money changed hands and I watched as Brinn downed the double paga in single gulp. “Another,” he said as he slapped a second tarsk bit onto the gnarled counter.
“It has been a while, Abid. I thought you had taken up airs and graces in some central café. I thought you were maybe too good for Bork Abi Haidar?”
“I’ve been busy. And I wanted you to see my new girl. This is Emma. Display position, Emma.”
I quickly did so, placing my hands behind my head, in amongst my hair, as I arched my body before him. I think I was beginning to adopt slave positions now without thinking. Such is still very much the case to this day. A man need only say, for example, 'Nadu' in an authoritative voice and I would probably find myself dropping to my knees without hesitation.
“She’s wearing a slave tunic,” said Yusef. “Is there something wrong with her body?”
“Hah, no. That’s for tomorrow. We’ll soon remedy that.” Brinn drew the slave tunic from my body, and threw it far into the café bar interior to be lost amongst the tables, exposing me suddenly as a girl clad in nothing more than exotic bracelets, bangles and earrings. Several men cheered and applauded as Brinn did so.
“Now that is an improvement,” said Yusef as I was forced to flaunt myself before him. “Hai! But that is a woman!”
“She was a bargain. Yusef, do you happen to know whether Marcellus is at his northern villa at the moment?” Brinn leaned over the bar and lowered his voice as he said that.
“Why?” Yusef regarded Brinn with concern.
“I need to travel north in a hurry, and the fastest way is by Tarn. There are no Tarns in the Tahari, save the ones Marcellus has on the edge of the desert. I thought perhaps he might like to help an old friend out.” Yusef thought about this for the moment as he poured some more paga. “Won't he try and kill you the moment he sees you?”
Brinn seemed shocked. “Now why would he try to do a thing like that?”
“He has this strange notion that you stole a Tarn from him two years ago.”
“The man is obviously paranoid and overly suspicious of everyone who cares for him as a blood brother. I shall endeavour to put him straight when I see him.” Brinn drank another glass of paga and licked his lips. “Is Lisa free tonight?
“I believe so. Ankle chain number five,” said Yusef as he passed Brinn a token. I stared round at the display of café owned beauties and spotted ankle chain number five: a stunningly beautiful black skinned girl knelt there with smouldering eyes, long sultry eyelashes and the most amazing curves I had ever seen. I hated her on sight. Surely Brinn wasn't going to...
“Send Lisa over,” said Brinn. “I've missed the slut.”
“Master!” I hurried over to him and placed my hands on his chest. What was he doing?! What was he thinking?!
“What is it, Emma?”
Now I curled my body next to his and glanced over my shoulder as Yusef walked over to ankle chain number five and released the black skinned beauty from the coffle arrangement. She smiled, stretched long, slender limbs, and showed perfect white teeth as she caught sight of Brinn. As I gazed in annoyance, she flaunted herself in a number of stylised poses – two of which even I had not been taught - and then began to glide in the most seductive way across the floor, slipping past all number of wandering hands that reached out to pull her to their table.
“Master, Emma is here. Let Emma please you.” I kissed him softly on his chest and worked my way down to his flat abdominal stomach, but he pushed me away.
“Later, Emma. Not now.” Brinn grinned at the slut Lisa as she dropped into Nadu before him.
“But Master...” I too dropped into Nadu and began to kiss and lick his thighs.
Suddenly I felt the back of his hand cuff me and I fell back, still on my knees.
“I said, no, Emma!” To my shock Brinn picked me up and threw me onto a nearby table where I scattered a number of paga cups. The men around the table laughed and roared with delight as I lay there for a moment in the spilt liquor. Then, before I could react, hands started to grasp my ankles, wrists, and I found myself stretched out on my back on the table. I screamed, not knowing what was happening to me as other hands reached for my breasts and between my thighs. I think I must have struggled, for Brinn suddenly had to turn his attention away from Lisa momentarily to snarl at me.
“Emma! Behave! You're a pleasure slave – do not embarrass me!”
“But Master!” I was suddenly turned and thrown onto my belly as hands pinned my wrists down above my head. I felt the hard wooden surface between my breasts and I became aware of a man forcing my thighs apart. I cried out as I felt another man enter me as I lay there, and then I was being rocked backwards and forwards with his thrusts. All the while I saw Brinn walking off with the beautiful black skinned slut to a side alcove. I watched them for they had not even bothered to draw the curtain closed as Lisa set about arousing my Master and yielding in his arms.
I think I was had by three men on that table, before the others were distracted by the need to buy another round of paga, and the arrival of another couple of frightened slave-girls. It finished as quickly as it began. One moment I was being held across the table and the next I was suddenly free to fall onto the floor in a less than dignified tangle of limbs, jingling wrist bangles and hair.
“Bring us more paga,” said one of the men as he pushed me with his foot. I could feel semen dribbling out from between my legs as I was jostled and pushed in the direction of Yusef. I stumbled and gripped the bar, feeling miserable, casting a glance again at the alcove where Lisa now had her face over Brinn's groin, going down on him.
I hated her! I hated Brinn! I hated Gor and Goreans in general. He was going to be sorry tonight when we eventually left this café. I resolved to be frigid, unyielding, unresponsive, my body like clay. Let him do what he liked to me, I would just lie there and that would serve him right. I looked round flustered as a passing man slapped my ass. As I did so, in turning my back to a second man, I had my ass slapped again.
“Ohh!” I pressed my ass against the bar, not knowing now where to turn. Brinn was still in the alcove with that slut. Look what they were doing! He hadn't even drawn the curtain!
I hated him!
“What do you need, girl?” shouted Yusef above the noise and commotion.
“Paga,” I snivelled. I felt degraded, dirty and used. I had just been a hole to those men. Just a hole. I shook my hair and waited as Yusef gave me a bottle of paga and pointed for me to carry it back to the table from where I had come. As soon as I delivered the paga, one of the men grabbed me by my left wrist, pulled me onto his lap, and began caressing me. Moments later I was back on my stomach again, being fucked from behind.
“Ahhh, I miss the cafes in the Bork Abi Haidar district,” said Brinn as he motioned for me to stop while he hitched up his tunic and began pissing in an anonymous doorway. I could hear sounds of fighting and various other commotions coming from some of the side streets. Somewhere a couple of drunken men were shouting loudly about a kaiila race and bottles were being smashed against stone walls. I was of course furious, and I was refusing to talk to Brinn.
“Is something wrong, Emma?” he said as he gave his enormous cock a quick shake. “You're very quiet tonight.”
I just sniffed, shrugged my shoulders and turned my back to him. Brinn had given me back the slave tunic before we left and I had quickly pulled it back over my body, wriggling it snuggly down over my hips for decency's sake. There was now a lengthy rip on the left side as Brinn had been careless when he had first removed it from me in the café.
“What? What now?” He turned round to regard me properly.
“I'm not speaking to you!” I folded my arms as I had my back to him. Now I could hear Brinn laughing which made me even more annoyed.
“I hate you!” I said quickly, which made him laugh even more. “It's not supposed to be funny!”
“You're lucky I'm in a good mood tonight and I do find this funny, otherwise you might well regret your behaviour, slave-girl.” Brinn took hold of my shoulders and turned me round to face him. “You are angry?”
“Yes I am! How could you do that?!”
Brinn yawned and drank some paga from a take-out bottle that he had bought. “How could I do what?”
“That! With that black slut! I hate her! Ohhhh! And then... you threw me to those men!” I was furious.
Brinn wiped his mouth and suddenly seemed serious. “I will couple with whomever I wish, whenever I wish, and tonight I wished to couple with Lisa. You are a slave-girl, and I will offer your use to whomever I wish, whenever I wish. Do you understand me?”
“Did the other night in the desert mean nothing to you?!” I screamed.
“No. No it didn't. Understand this, Emma, you were delicious on the blankets that night, and I gained much pleasure from you, but it means nothing. You are my enemy. I am glad you are in my collar, and for the time being you will remain in my collar, and I will enjoy using you again and again, but do not think that means anything. You are my slave. You have no say in your use, and you have no say over me.”
“I hate you! I hate this collar! I hate Gor!”
“Scream all you wish, until I tell you to stop. Then you had better stop.” Brinn took hold of me and suddenly turned me round until I was pressed against the stone wall of the alleyway.
“What are you doing? Oh no... no.... not after what you did in there... no, you can't... I won't... ohhhh!”
“Palms of your hands flat against the wall, Emma.”
I squealed as I felt Brinn pull my tight fitting slave tunic up over my hips, tearing the existing rip even more, leaving me naked below, and I felt my body being suddenly pushed forward against the wall as he entered me, hard.
“No, not here, not now!” Each thrust forced me forward until I began to brace myself with my hands. I felt my body lifting up onto the tips of my toes with each thrust. As Brinn took me, half drunkenly, I heard men passing by, making lewd comments that Brinn ignored. Brinn simply carried on fucking me for another six ehn before he came and gripped my hair tightly as he groaned. Then he pulled out of me, sighed with contentment and reached for the bottle of paga again that he had placed on the floor. I broke down crying and crouched low beside the floor while he drank some more of the liquor.
“Come, Emma.” He reached down and pulled me back up by my left wrist. “We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow.”
Later that night, in his walled house, within the walled gardens, he fucked me again before chaining me with close chains around my wrists and neck to the foot of his couch to sleep on the tiled floor on a blanket.
“I don't trust you to sleep on my couch,” he said with a drunken yawn. “You after all serve Kurii and that makes you my enemy.” He had left a pan of water for me and some strips of cold meat that I was quick to devour. A few hours before dawn I felt his hands close around my body as I lay curled on the blankets. I was turned over onto my back, still groggy with sleep, and while my eyes flickered open, Brinn pushed my thighs open and entered me again, as strands of silver tinged moonlight filtered through the barred windows. I quickly became aroused and enjoyed this sudden and unexpected rape very much. After Brinn had finished, he lay there on the blanket with me for a time, stroking and caressing my body as I sobbed from the fading waves of my orgasm.
“You are valuable to me Emma, but you are just a slave. I am not a cruel man, but you will come to understand you cannot manipulate me with your moods. If you continue to try I will simply sell you, do you understand?”
“Yes, Master.” I curled into his arms and pressed my head against his chest, for I knew Brinn's collar was better than a collar belonging to a man like Rashid.
“You will sometimes be given to my friends. This one time I allowed you to be petulant afterwards. I will not permit it a second time. You do not have a say in the matter.”
“Please, Master...” I whispered, “let Emma share your couch tonight.”
“No,” said Brin as he rolled me away from him, and rose to get up. “You serve Kurii, and you are therefore my enemy. I do not trust you.”
I slept that night on a blanket on the tiles, in close chains, secured to the slave ring at the foot of his couch.
Brinn could make out the sound of someone walking to the door on the other side. A narrow slit at eye level slid open in the door and we saw a pair of eyes – obviously female – peer out at us. The woman on the other side of the door gazed at Brinn for a moment before she said, in a noticeably foreign accent, “Yes? Can I help you?”
I tried to keep the surprise from my voice as I heard the woman's accent and recognised it as French.
Brinn gazed at the pair of eyes and said, “My name is Abid. I am here to see the Lady Melinda.”
"Je suis désolé. You are mistaken, I fear, Sir. There is no one here by that name. Possibly you have the wrong house."
“Hersius,” said Brinn, it being the recognition code that had been inscribed on the reply we had received today.
“Ainsi, vous êtes un ami.” The woman nodded behind the door slit – visible only by way of her eyes moving. Then I heard three heavy bolts being drawn back in the door. There was a pause before the door opened and I saw a woman, an inch or two shorter than myself, with dark brown hair, wearing light house veils, dressed in the robes of a Free Woman of Gor. “Why didn't you say so to begin with, monsieur? I cannot be too careful, you understand. You could have been the enemy.”
“An enemy wouldn't have knocked on your door,” said Brinn as he regarded her. “Kurgus sends his greetings. Now, I do not have much time. Will you let me in?”
“Who is that?” The woman glared at me as I knelt beside Brinn.
“Her name is Emma. She is, or rather was, an agent of Priest Kings. As you can see, she no longer works for Priest Kings. She will soon be interrogated for everything she knows about operations within the Tahari.”
“Je suis Madame Melinda. Bienvenue à ma maison.” She motioned for Brinn to enter the main room and frowned at me beneath her light veil as I followed. The suite of rooms was comfortable and well furnished. The most striking and prominent feature of the main room was the enormous couch-bed. The bed itself was very soft and covered in a multitude of fabric throws and cushions. Like all Gorean couches, it had a heavy slave ring set into the foot of the bed, and a number of smaller rings around the sides. The floor was tiled, over which there were a number of ornate and quite expensive looking carpet rugs. Large windows overlooked the grounds of a small walled garden to the rear of the property. Close by the windows was a simple desk and a high backed chair, at which a man or woman could work if he or she wished. Elsewhere in the room there was a wooden dresser. Doors led to a walk in wardrobe containing the gowns, robes, slips, veils, slippers, boots and other items of clothing that a Free Woman of Gor would naturally have.
The sand coloured walls of the room were broken up with a number of soft drapes and a couple of plinths displaying simple decorative sculptures. A vase of flowers stood near the door. There were a number of wall pegs close to the main door and a shelf. Hanging from the pegs were two different size whips and a supple switch, and a small selection of chains. There was a matching set of wrist and ankle chains that could be adjusted to fit most sizes of slave; a choke leash; a sirik chain; and a five-foot length of chain with snap locks suitable for connecting a collar to a slave ring. There were also a few coils of binding fibre, some individual locks and keys, a leather gag, and several loose chains that could be adapted to almost any purpose with the addition of a few padlocks. In addition to the ring at the foot of the couch, there were also two iron rings set into the floor. Such things were quite common throughout Gor – a feature of the room in case guests arrived with their own slaves in tow, or chose to rent some during their stay in the city. I could see no chairs in the room other than the one by the desk.
One corner of the room featured a low table surrounded by cushions, at which drinks and food could be consumed. A third door led to a tiled bathroom that featured a large sunken bath, a wall length mirror and toilet facilities. The windows here were small, high up, and barred, but there were quite a few of them to allow light through, without really letting anyone else peer in. Energy bulbs lit this and the main bedroom, but there were also some scented candles in place around the bath. All things considered it was a pleasant suite of rooms.
“Keep your slut away from my floor rugs.” Melinda motioned that I could kneel instead on the floor tiles. “The large ones are woven in Tor and I do not want her juicing herself all over them, or whatever girls like her do in the presence of their Master.”
“Of course,” said Brinn. “Emma – do as the Lady says.”
“I was not told you were in the city, nor that anyone was operational at this time since Seremides left,” said Melinda as she walked over towards a low table on which there were a couple of bottles of white ka-la-na and some glasses.
“Do not be surprised. I have not been sent here through the usual channels. The fact that I am speaking to you at all should be taken as a sign of the high regard Kurgus has for you.”
I could see the Free Woman relax and take some pride from that compliment. “So – we are colleagues then. Please, make yourself at home. Have you been long in Patashqar?” Melinda selected a suitable bottle of ka-la-na wine and poured two small glasses, one of which she handed to Brinn. I of course was not offered anything. As she passed a glass to Brinn so her eyes strayed briefly to me again as I knelt quietly on the floor. “An agent of Priest Kings, you say? Where did you capture her?”
“In the desert actually. She had been careless.” Brinn smiled down at me.
Melinda nodded. “Silly slut of a girl. Then let us drink to the fall of our enemies and the inevitable rise of the Kurii. To the Steel Worlds!”
Brinn smiled and echoed, “to the fall of my enemies.” They drank ka-la-na, and from Brinn's expression I could infer it was a fine vintage.
“My accent lets me down, oui? Though my grasp of Gorean is good, non? I am from Earth myself. But then, Kurgus probably briefed you on that fact.”
“No he didn't. It wasn't a relevant fact to my mission,” said Brinn emotionlessly as he continued with his deception. I noticed he was observing Melinda closely. Later he would tell me why:
“Observation is key, Emma, to my line of work. When you looked at the Lady Melinda you saw a Free Woman of Gor who scared you, and rightly so. But when I looked at her I ascertained she was five feet two inches tall, slightly built and would in my casual estimation take a ten hort size collar. She would probably take a size one bracelet and a size two ankle ring, though I would obviously want to satisfy myself on those measurements if the circumstances of meeting her were different. The robes she wears makes it impossible to tell exactly how good her body is, but you will notice she has chosen to tightly belt her waist, meaning it is possible to discern some curves, and also it infers she is vain. A Gorean woman would rarely do such a thing, so again I might infer she is not Gorean. She speaks Gorean fluently, but with an accent that marks her as foreign. Gor is large enough that the accent can be explained away as coming from an area well beyond the Tahari of course.”
“The girl, Emma,” said Melinda as she sipped her wine. “That is an Earth name. Was she from Earth?”
“She was,” said Brinn. “From a place called London England. Emma is a delicious and appropriate name for a slave-girl, as are nearly all feminine names from that planet.”
“I find that comment offensive. Earth girl names are hardly suitable as slave names, I feel.” Melinda gazed at me with an increased sense of displeasure.
“I apologise for offending you then, Lady. Nevertheless, Emma is from that planet, she had an Earth girl name, and I felt it would make for an appropriate slave name. It is something we may well disagree on. My compliments on the quality of your wine, by the way. It is exceptional.”
“But of course. I insist on only the best, But if you are implying that women from Earth are natural slaves, then it is a ridiculous argument that I have heard many times before. The theory bores me, Abid. Obviously, I too am from Earth, and I assure you I am not like her. I do not crawl and beg and lick my chains and offer myself to men! Merde! Vous m'insultez! Comment osez-vous?” She looked annoyed with Brinn in that way that a woman who doesn't understand that she now lives on a world where she is at the mercy of men, is easily offended.
Brinn simply dismissed her complaints with a sweep of his hand. “I am not here to discuss women from Earth.” He walked across to the side of the room and began to examine the selection of chains and bonds hanging on the wall, and then glanced at the bed with its slave rings and such before looking back at the Kurii agent in her light house veil. “This is an impressive collection of Slaver equipment and yet I see no slave here. Further these are well appointed rooms, and it would take a good deal of money to buy and outfit these quarters. This isn't your apartment, is it?”
“I live here at the moment,” said Melinda evasively.
“Then why all the chains, restraints, and so forth?” Brinn picked out an ankle ring and looked at it speculatively.
“They belong to a man I know. He owns the actual apartment.”
Brinn smiled. “Indeed. He is in the habit of chaining women to his couch I suspect. He lives here?”
“No! Of course not! I live here alone. The apartment has been loaned to me for my time here in Patashqar.”
“I would guess the apartment therefore belongs to Safwan Samir?” I had told Brinn the name of the other operative in Corcyrus when he had used me out in the rolling sands of the desert.
“You know him?” Melinda continued to seem evasive on the subject.
“Indeed. Kurgus told me all about him, as well as about you. This is his apartment, yes? One of many perhaps?”
“And these are his chains and collars?”
“Yes.” Melinda walked across the room, feeling apparently flustered.
I recalled now some of Kurgus's words relating to Samir and Melinda. What was it he had said to me. Oh, yes: “The Lady Melinda is subordinate to Safwan Samir. And not just in operational terms...” He had said it with a knowing smile. Could it be then that Samir occasionally couched with Melinda? After all, Free Men and Free Women did strike up relationships, in and outside of the ritual of Free Companionship. Did Safwan Samir sometimes visit his subordinate in her apartments, late at night, after work? And was she instructed to receive him perhaps on her knees, with ka-la-na prepared on the low table close to the soft, ornate couch? Was that why Samir kept slave apparatus to hand in the apartment? Did he then, after drinking some ka-la-na, chain her to the foot of the couch before having her? Perhaps. It is not always the case that a Free Woman lives a chaste and pure life on Gor. Sometimes their need is so great that they do strike up a relationship with a man, but often the woman finds that the man is accustomed to the pleasures of slave-girls, and is reluctant to treat a Free Woman in the furs much differently. He therefore has her on his own preferred terms.
Sometimes the Free Woman discovers that she actually desires to be treated that way, provided no one else knows.
“The subject is irrelevant,” said Melinda as she gazed out of one of the narrow barred windows. Barred windows in cities are not that unusual, especially in the back streets where safety is more of an issue, and where perhaps Free Women are housed. A Free Woman in a city is often practically a prisoner of her own home. She requires bars on the windows and a stout heavy lockable door to live securely behind four walls. Even if she has a garden, there is always the possibility that a man might climb over the high walls, possibly hide in the undergrowth and attack her. Also, it is not unknown for a tarn raider to descend from the clouds with little warning, to snatch a girl from her very garden, before she has time to react. It was not a surprise then that the Lady Melinda had heavy bars fitted to her windows and generally had to remain indoors when she was alone. I watched her as she gazed out of what amounted to her cell, her small hands clutching the bars that overlooked Haddiyah Street.
“Oh?” Brinn's expression looked innocent, but I guessed he was thinking the same as me. “The quality of this ankle ring is very good. It is well made.”
“I really wouldn't know,” said Melinda.
“It is a size two ankle ring, yes?”
“As I said, I really wouldn't know.”
Brinn later told me that the Lady Melinda took a size two ankle ring. It was a perfect fit for her. I also take a size two ankle ring. It is a very common ring size for women of our build.
I had been thinking about sex quite a bit since we had returned to Patashqar. Since that night in the desert I had felt very conscious of my sexuality and my needs. It felt like some spark inside of me had ignited and I was beginning to see the world in a slightly different way. Earlier today in the respectable street café before we had left for Haddiyah Street, I had felt a sense of contentment kneeling beside Brinn. It was stupid I know, but it was a moment of respite in what had been a series of terrible days. Brinn had occasionally stroked my head and touched my breasts and nipples in a manner designed to remind me I was his slave. He did that a lot – even in public, routinely touching me, keeping me on edge. It is a strange sensation to kneel before a man with a collar around your neck and to know that he can fuck you any time he desires. I had very much enjoyed the sex with Brinn, but did that make me a natural slave-girl? Or did it simply mean I had found a source of sex that was incredible? On Gor the one thing firmly related to the other. For a woman to have such strong sexual needs meant she was a slave. It was that simple.
“I need to consult the operational maps. My mission is a delicate one, and time is pressing.”
“You have authorisation?” Melinda sipped the ka-la-na as she spoke.
“There is no 'obviously' about it. You either have authorisation or you do not. The possibilities are in a sense, perfectly black or white. The operational maps are of a restricted nature. I would need to see a token from Kurgus confirming your rank in such matters.”
“I do not carry such things on my person,” said Brinn in an off hand manner that was supposed to convey a sense of authority far beyond the requirements of tokens. “I travel quickly on Kur business and do not have time to see to such petty bureaucratic matters. I contacted you through the proscribed channels, did I not?”
“Yes, but such channels are never completely secure.”
“You are overly suspicious, Lady. Now, bring me the maps.”
“I find your attitude less than pleasant. Understand, Abid, that I am second to Safwan Samir in Patashqar, while you are just a passing agent. Here in the Tahari we follow strict protocol in operational matters, and you will simply have to tolerate it. Do you understand your place?” She gazed at him with the full authority she believed she possessed.
“The maps, Lady. Do not make me ask you again.”
“I think perhaps I will confer with my superior in the city, non? I do not know you. I have not been expecting you. You will leave and return in a day or two. I have spoken.” She motioned with her hand – a dismissive gesture. “And take your scantily clad slut with you. I find the sight of her disagreeable. Go now.”
Suddenly, without a word, Brinn backhand Melinda across the lips, hard, his blow sending her spiralling to the ground. “When you speak to me you will do so with respect. This is not Earth.” If anything, Melinda seemed weaker than the average Gorean woman – a product of her upbringing perhaps where manual labour is replaced by technology. She lay there for a moment on the floor of her apartments, stunned by the fact that Brinn had struck her. When she gazed up, there was blood on her mouth, and she seemed startled to see Brinn place a hand on his belted whip.
“You hit me!” Melinda moved back a little, her robes risen slightly, revealing shapely ankles and calves that, now that Brinn looked at them closely, definitely would take a size two ankle ring.
“Get to your belly, ankles crossed, wrists crossed behind you. Make a sound and I assure you Lady, it will be the last thing you do as a Free Woman.” Brinn uncoiled the whip and cracked it in the air, making both Melinda and I jump. I guessed she had probably seen the whip being used on slaves before, in which case she would probably have seen the reaction of the girls to it and drawn logical conclusions as to what it must feel like to be whipped. Consequently Melinda quickly did as she was ordered, and moved onto her belly, crossing her ankles and wrists. It was plainly evident from her eyes that she was terrified now, for the whip does that to women.
As Melinda lay there, Brinn crouched down and drew from a belt pouch two lengths of binding fibre, tightly binding her ankles and wrists together. He pulled her roughly up, sat on her knees and proceeded to tie the bindings so as to hog tie her in effect. Then and only then did he stand up again. “Now then, I will ask questions and you will answer them. You will address me as 'Captor' for the time being.”
Melinda nodded, and then as Brinn frowned at that response and moved his whip hand, she quickly added, “yes Captor!” Her body wriggled a little to try and ease the discomfort of being hogtied like this before a man. In fear she gazed about her room, seeing me where I still knelt. “Send that slut outside. She should not see me like this!”
“Emma will stay where I can see her. And you are in no position to be making demands. Now then who are you? How did you come to Gor?”
“My name is Melinda, and I'm here because I serve the Kurii as do you. Now please untie me. When Kurgus learns you have done this to me...”
“Forget about Kurgus. He isn't here and he won't be able to help you. Melinda what? Women from Earth tend to have surnames as well. And why do you serve the Kurii on a planet alien to your own?”
“If you must know, my full name is Melinda Geneviève Fornier. I was brought to Gor on one of the silver ships that belong to the Kurii. I lived and worked in Paris. One day I must have been spotted and assessed by an agent stationed there as part of their slaver operation, for late one night three men entered my apartment and drugged me. I was added to a consignment of girls in a warehouse on the outskirts of the city that was to be shipped to Ar for branding and training.” She paused and stared again at me. “Please, if I must discuss such things, can you send her out of the room?”
“I will do no such thing. Continue with your answer, Melinda.”
“I woke in the warehouse to find that I was naked, except for a steel circlet locked around my left ankle. It had writing on it that I couldn't read. I was helplessly bound and could only watch as other girls like me were brought into the warehouse. We were being injected again and placed into capsules of some kind ready for shipment on what I would later discover was a space ship. When it was my turn I pleaded with them to no avail. After that I passed out from the second injection. I was lucky, for unlike the other girls I was evaluated and considered to have potential. I was offered a position in Kurgus's network. One of his men explained to me that I was very lucky. He explained that by rights I would now be a slave, in a collar,” Melinda glanced at me as she said that, “my thigh branded. That was what I had been brought to Gor for. But there was an alternative, if I was interested.”
“The man explained to me that I was on a planet called Gor, and that I had been brought here, as many Earth girls had been, by a race called the Kurii. He told me that the Kurii brought most of the girls to Gor as slaves, but a few they used as agents. The Priest Kings had apparently adopted a similar strategy, though mainly with men. Gorean women, it seemed, were conditioned to respect and obey men, rendering them often useless for the purposes of espionage as they often gave themselves away at crucial moments. Earth girls do not respect men, and are adept at lying to them. Which is why the Kurii use them. I was offered the chance to serve the Kurii. At first I declined and demanded to be taken home. This man... his name was Kurgus, decided to give me a tour of the city. I was taken to a slave pen and shown around it. In amongst the slaves were five girls from Earth, all terrified, recently whipped and in the process of being readied for auction. To my horror I recognised one of them. A girl who worked in the same office as me. Kurgus enquired politely whether I would care to join her. I decided on reflection that I was now keen to serve the Kurii.”
“A common enough story. Emma here told me a similar one a few nights ago.” Brinn unpinned Melinda's veil and smiled as he saw her beautiful Parisienne features. “Someone told me you were as ugly as a sand sleen. I am pleased to see you are not.”
“Please... don't touch me! Kurgus will...”
“I am not interested in Kurgus. I lied. I do not work for Kurii. I work for Priest Kings. This girl here is in fact a Kurii agent such as yourself.”
“No...” Melinda looked terrified now.
“So, I will ask you once again, where are the maps with the grid markings?”
The maps had been hidden in a false panel in the ceiling. Given time we would probably have located them, but time is usually a luxury in operations like this. As Melinda knelt in her hog tie, with her veils hanging loose from a single remaining pin, Brinn consulted the grid markings as he rolled the plastic waterproof sheets across the surface of the couch.
“Here, Master.” I placed my finger on the spot which matched the numbers I had memorised. This time I used the correct final sequence.
“Good, and this here...” he pointed at another grid reference maybe twenty to thirty pasangs away, “would correspond to the location Seremides has. Ideally I would like the distance to be further apart, but in forest terrain that is more than adequate.”
“Have I pleased you, Master?” I asked, nervously.
“Yes, Emma, I suppose you have. Is this an appeal for a pan of ka-la-na tonight?”
“I was thinking perhaps you will take me with you then when you go north? Not leave me in a public slave pen in Patashqar?” I touched his thigh gently. “Please don't leave me here, Master.”
“I need to travel quickly, and I will be taking the Lady Melinda with me, which will slow me down as it is.”
“Kurgus has one of my colleagues. In the event of encountering a Kurii agent in the field, I have standing orders to deliver her to the Priest Kings so that an exchange of hostages can be offered. Melinda seems to be a suitable rank for the exchange to be viable. I'll therefore take her to Lydius, as it is close to the forests, where she will be exchanged for the Lady Coraline.”
“You're not going to enslave her?”
“No. She will be held as a Free Woman captive. Kurgus places no value on his agents once they have been enslaved.”
“But you could take me with you too! Please, Master!”
“Emma, you're beginning to annoy me.” Brinn looked down sharply at me.
“You don't understand what it's like to live in a slave pen for months and months...”
“And I don't care, any more than I care whether my kaiila likes living in a stable. Besides which the Forest will be dangerous. This is work, not a holiday.” Now Brinn rolled the plastic map sheets up and turned to regard Lady Melinda.
“You are going to exchange me in Lydius?” Melinda said, feeling somewhat braver now that she had not been whipped or threatened with the collar.
“That is correct. You will be held as a Free Captive until then.”
“Of course.” She sniffed, understanding her fate could easily have been much worse had Kurgus not had an agent of Priest Kings that the Priest Kings wanted back. “It is a sensible thing to do with me. I understand the logic, captor.”
“Good. You will of course be exempt from use while you are my captive.”
“So I would expect!” Melinda squirmed a little in her hog tie.
“You are an enemy, so I will of course chain you.” Brinn walked towards the French girl and drew his knife.
“What are you doing?” Melinda shuffled backwards as best she could.
“Removing your clothing,” said Brinn as he began to cut through the fine robes and gowns.
“Why are you doing this!” Melinda stared wide eyed as the cloth was removed, layer by layer from around her body until she was displayed quite naked on the floor.
“Because it pleases me.”
“You said I am exempt from use! That I remain free!”
“That you are, and that you do.” Now Brinn searched the contents of the various wardrobes and smiled as he located a number of brief slave tunics, far briefer than the one I currently wore. “You own some interesting garments, Lady Melinda.” He held the brief slave garment, deeply slashed at the neck line and slashed at the sides of the thighs. The material looked thin and clingy.
“Those are not mine!” Melinda blushed brightly.
“Perhaps not, but I am guessing that sometimes when Safwan Samir calls round, he expects you to dress in them?”
“I do no such thing!” But Melinda could not meet Brinn's gaze as she said that.
“Be that as it may, you will wear one of these garments while you are my captive, or else you can wear nothing.” He placed the scandalous garment on the surface of the couch. A second such slave tunic he threw to me. “You are over dressed in that garment, Emma. Replace it with this one, and belt it tightly below your breasts.”
“This is intolerable,” sobbed the Lady Melinda as she walked in front of Brinn through the back streets of Patashqar. I was looking daggers at her, for she had an incredibly slim figure that was abundantly displayed in the short slave tunic. Unlike me she wore sirik chains, the wrist bracelets of which were close chains, while the ankle bracelets were separated by enough chain so that she might walk easily. She looked beautiful in the sirik and it was obvious where Brin's gaze was straying. “There is no need to put me in sirik chains!”
“There is every need, Lady Melinda. You are an enemy agent and you are classed as the spoils of war. Be thankful you are simply my captive for now.”
“Yes,” said Brinn with a smile, “for now. The future after all is never certain.”
I was in a depressed state of mind for I knew now that very soon Brinn would place me in a public slave pen and leave with the Lady Melinda for the Northern Forests. I feared that on that long journey he might make use of her frequently and gradually forget about me. I might then spend a year or so in the pens, being brutalised by the other girls and the guards. Maybe he might never come back after his adventures were concluded?
“What, Emma?” He turned round as we walked. “If this is about the slave pens, understand I will whip you if you whine about them again tonight.”
I lowered my head and wept.
“And stop crying!” He lifted my head by my chin and wiped the tears from my eyes with his bare hand. “I will not put up with these moods of yours. Do you want me to sell you in the market tomorrow?”
“No! Please, no!”
I forced a smile on to my face.
“That will do. Now, heel me.”
It was late in the afternoon by the time Brinn walked his two girls back to the walled house in the Al Marija quarter of Patashqar that he called home.
Like many of the expensive addresses in Patashqar, the property itself was inconspicuous, concealed as it was behind a plain high wall with a simple gate enclosure. Once through the gate though we entered a pleasant and sprawling garden surrounding the two storey flat roofed house.
“What are your plans, captor?” asked the Lady Melinda with growing confidence as she heeled him in her sirik chains.
“Later on we eat. Emma will cook, and you and I will talk about the Kurri dispositions within the Tahari. I am sure there is much you can tell me that I will be interested in. You will sleep in my bed chamber, chained to a slave ring at the base of my couch. Tomorrow we will set out to see a friend of mine on the outskirts of the desert. The journey will take several days. I'm afraid it will not be a comfortable one. I cannot afford the delays that a palanquin would entail.”
“Then how will I travel without a palanquin?”
“You will be secured over the front of may saddle until we reach Marcellus's villa.”
“Marcellus?!” Lady Melinda suddenly stopped, several feet away from the door to the house.
“You know him?”
“Only by past reputation!”
“Well, he's retired now, more's the pity.” Brinn pushed open his front door and stepped through into the main ground floor room, saying to me as he entered, “Emma, you will cook Dolma and Kofta tonight, with Shish Tawook, Shawarma and Fattoush as a side dish. While Melinda and I eat, you will retire quietly to make yourself beautiful with slave cosmetics and perfumes and dress yourself in pleasure silks for...” Brinn's voice trailed off as he noticed the four strangers waiting for him in his home.
“Come in and close the door, Brinn,” said a veiled Free Woman who stood beside the barred window at the far end of the room. Although I could not see her face I instantly recognised her voice. It was my friend, the Lady Jacinta! Standing either side of the doorway, ready for us as we passed through, were three dangerous and professional looking warriors, each one of which had a drawn short sword in his hand, ready for use.
“I have no idea what you're doing in Patashqar, let alone why you've been spying on our dead drop locations, but this afternoon I intend to find out, through torture if necessary.” She began to peel a ripe citrus fruit and cut out a slice with a small feminine knife as she spoke. “My three men are amongst the most dangerous men in Patashqar, so if you even begin to go for your sword, they will cut you down where you stand. Do I make myself clear?”
“Perfectly,” said Brinn with a smile as he narrowed his eyes and regarded each man in turn. One of the men reached over and closed the front door behind us, sealing us inside.
“There is obviously a lot more to you than the common slave who miraculously escaped from Kurgus's estate all those months ago. I look forward to cutting the truth out of you.” Lady Jacinta held the tip of her knife in the air for Brinn to see. Then she turned slowly and saw me for the first time.
“Oh, Felice...” There was a combination of sadness and disappointment as she spoke to me for the first time since she had left me in Corcyrus. “I see you wear a collar now...”