Chapter Six: ' Tarn-Five-Elipse-Fathom-Eighteen-Cable-Nine'
I was dancing in the mosaic tiled room before the two men who conversed together as they watched me move. Aside from them there were two musicians in the corner providing the rhythm and melody for my dance. One sat with a czehar – a Gorean eight stringed instrument shaped like a large flat box which is held across the lap when sitting cross-legged and played with a horn pick. The other set out a beat on a small drum that was held between his legs.
I turned my shimmering left thigh as I pointed my toe and moved gracefully, hands up around my breasts to then raise high in a flourish above my head as I turned fluidly before them. I felt the music through my body as I rolled my hips, swayed in time to the rhythm and danced, gliding across the floor in a rapture of abandonment for the pleasure of the men. I moved seamlessly from one enticing pose to another as my legs followed the seductive rhythm of the drum, causing me to flaunt myself, my breasts, my hips, my thighs, as I turned and span on raised toes, arching my back and turning with a look of wild abandonment to briefly meet the gaze of the men who wished to view me.
My eyes lowered submissively as I danced past them, turning once again to curl my wrists and fingers in a series of circles as I moved in a figure of eight, tapping out a counterpoint to the drum and the czehar with my toes.
I had been cruelly tutored in the exotic dances of the Harem Girl of the desert, the lessons strict with discipline, Bahira always ready to admonish any mistake with a crack of her switch against my thighs. I danced perfectly before these men, knowing they wished to see me at my most beautiful, my most captivating, my most desirable. If they were displeased with my performance I would be beaten afterwards and I had learned the hard way to fear the Gorean lash as wielded by a man.
I wore diaphanous white pleasure silks that clung to the curves of my body, enhancing my beauty, and I wore softly chiming bells tied to my ankles. I was a pleasure slave in the halls of Banu Hashim, and my training as such was almost complete.
"She would never have been able to move like that on Earth,” said the physician.
"No, obviously not. The culture she grew up in is not conducive to such displays of femininity,” said Marcellus, the man with the crippled leg and the walking cane.
"Sometimes I wonder how you stayed sane in the time you were there. I couldn't have put up with it.”
"You make do. And you would be surprised what you can teach a woman in the privacy of her bedroom after you have perhaps picked her up in a night club or wine bar. Once you have stripped and warmed her, she becomes compliant in the fulfilling of her secret fantasies. Earth women secretly desire to be submissive, though of course few of them can even begin to imagine what it truly entails. For them it is perhaps a game that they can control according to their whims and moods.”
"But there are limits, I imagine, in the way you can treat such a girl on her own planet, without actually enslaving her?”
"Yes. Obviously. It can be frustrating, but these are sacrifices we must make for the greater good.”
I gathered from the snatches of conversation that I overheard during my dance that the man Marcellus had spent some time on Earth. Was he possibly one of the Gorean slavers who came to my planet on the silver ships to acquire women for the slave pens of Gor? Somehow I thought not, for his words suggested he was possibly operating there for another purpose.
"Do you miss it?” asked the physician.
"No. It was another life. And I think I was perhaps soft then. There was a woman who... well, it is not important. I am not soft now.”
"Hmm.” The physician turned his full attention back to me. “With your permission, I will have the guards escort Emma back to my rooms later on in the day and I will proceed as we discussed earlier. I am concerned that her Master may remove her from the pens with little in the way of warning.”
"Do so. I have faith in your judgement as always.” Marcellus turned round and with several clicks of his walking cane, left the mosaic tiled room. He no longer, it seemed, had any interest in my dancing.
"You again,” said Erin as she knelt by the water trough and scrubbed her body with a wet sponge. Other slave-girls jostled for space either side of her as I approached.
The rotating schedule in the mornings meant it was a full eleven days before I was released from my pen to wash myself at a water trough at the same time that Erin did. Eleven days in which I had been forced to begin demeaning dance lessons! Eleven days in which I was being taught the arts of pleasing men in the furs! Too much time was slipping by here in the pens of Banu Hashim, and if I didn’t get out of here soon I was afraid I would be thinking and moving as a slave-girl as a matter of routine. Already so many things were becoming instinctive for me. I would now for example automatically drop to my knees in Nadu if a man addressed me. My body would grow slave excited if a man touched me, and I found it difficult to speak to men without automatically using the word Master in every other sentence. I was growing fearful that this rigid training would make it difficult for me to slip back into the natural mannerisms of a Free Woman once my mission was successful.
"Erin, I’ve remembered the question I have to ask you.” I was whispering quietly so that the other girls might not hear.
"I have to ask you the name of the town where your mother was born.”
"Unfortunately for you, pumpkin, I’m not going to tell you the answer.” Erin continued to wash under her armpits with the wet sponge as I knelt there, feeling frustrated.
"Erin, you have to tell me! Not here though – somewhere quiet. Perhaps we can slip away into one of the side rooms for a few minutes.”
"I don’t have to tell you anything, Emma. If Kurgus wants information from me, he can come to the Tahari and ask me in person instead of sending some school girl to run errands for him.”
"Please, Erin, I have to get the co-ordinates from you, otherwise…”
"Otherwise what, pumpkin?” she handed me the wet sponge. “Start washing yourself, or else the men are going to notice something is going on. We're not supposed to dawdle, chatting, early in the mornings by the water troughs. They would whip us for it if they noticed.” She dipped her long dark hair into the trough and rinsed it while I spoke.
"Erin, if I fail in this, I really don’t think…” my voice sounded nervous, “I don’t think Seremides has instructions from Kurgus to free me if I fail in here…”
"Sucks to be you then,” said Erin as she straightened up and started to wring her hair out.
"Erin, I’ll remain in a collar!”
"Wow. It's always good to have alternative career opportunities. Nice one, pumpkin.”
"Why do you have to be so nasty to me?”
"Nasty?” Erin turned to regard me. “Get it through your pretty blonde head that no one on Gor gives a fuck about you, okay? No one cares about your well being, and no one is looking out for you. I've been learning that lesson for several years now. Men are quite happy for you to remain in a collar, and as for women – Free Women detested you the moment you were enslaved, and all the slave-girls here would resent the idea of you being freed. Get used to your collar, pumpkin – you’re not losing it any time soon.”
"Please… I’m begging you. I know these last few years have been horrible for you, and I know you feel abandoned and lost, but there’s still hope for me. I would have bought and freed you if I could. I would have freed you, Erin! Please do the same for me.”
"Fuck that. I don’t have anything against you personally, but I love the idea of frustrating that prick, Kurgus. It gives me a nice warm feeling in my so called slave belly.”
"Oh God… you’re my only hope, Erin. Please… I can’t remain here as a slave-girl! I’m terrified how I’ll end up.”
Erin rose from the trough and dried herself quickly with some towelling rags. She looked magnificent, her body firm, curvaceous and desirable. “Word of advice, Emma – don’t buck the system. It’ll easily break you if you do. Be the reed that bends in the wind and you’ll live longer. Learn to dance, learn to fuck men well, and maybe one day you’ll get used to all of this.”
"Erin! Please, please…”
It was another five days of dance training and learning to touch a man in the furs before I saw Erin again. This time it was on one of the metal walkways that spiralled down the sides of the cavern pit. Erin was carrying freshly washed pleasure silks up to one of the training rooms when I came across her on my way down from those very same rooms.
"Erin…” I paused by the stairwell rail, glancing to my left and my right to ensure I wasn’t being overheard.
"Pumpkin,” she said with a smile.
"I’m desperate, Erin. I have a class tomorrow where we’re all going to have to practice and demonstrate the skills we’ve learnt on a male slave. You’ve got to help me get out of here. Please!”
"This is getting tiresome, Emma.” Erin walked up the next flight of iron steps to a platform that led into one of the silk training rooms. I followed her inside where she began to drape the lengths of pleasure silk over a side rail, ready for the next class. Some of the silks were white, but the vast majority were red. “You probably shouldn't be in here,” she said as she ran her fingers through one of the pieces of fine silk. “If one of the guards catches you loitering and talking to me...”
I knew the risks, but if I didn't speak to Erin and persuade her to co-operate then in all likelihood the only way I was leaving the pens was in a coffle chain.
"Listen to me, please,” I took her left wrist and turned her round. She didn't resist, but I could see she wasn't looking particularly receptive to what I was going to say. “I'm the same as you.”
"What's that supposed to mean, pumpkin?” Erin regarded me with a sideways tilt of her head.
"I've not told anyone else on Gor, but I'm a lesbian. I don't like men.”
Erin's eyes widened a little at that. She regarded my naked body and began to reassess me. “So you like girls too. Your point is?”
"I can only imagine what you must have gone through these last few years if you're not sexually interested in men. It must have been even more of an ordeal than it normally would be. I can understand how bitter you must feel. But can't you see – it will be the same for me? How can you let me go through what you've gone through? Wouldn't you have wanted someone to spare you your pain and suffering? You could do this – you can do what you would have desperately wanted someone to have done for you. Please, Erin, don't have me go through what you had to endure. No you don't owe me anything, but know this – if it had been in my power to save you, I would have done so. Now look me in the eyes and tell me I'm lying, because I am not.”
I held both her wrists in my hands and looked at her with the utmost longing and pleading, all of which was genuine and heartfelt. For the first time since I had met her, Erin looked unsure of herself.
"Emma, it's not just about you. This is my only way to get back at Kurgus.”
"I know! I know! But are you really going to put me through hell just for a moment of revenge against someone you'll never see again? Kurgus will move on to other things. This won't bring him down. It will be frustrating, but it's not the big revenge you think it is. And it's not worth condemning me to a lifetime of being brutalised by men for. Look at me. Please look at me, Erin. I'm you, several years ago. Remember how frightened and alone you felt? Do you remember that?”
"Yes.” Erin didn't make any move to pull her wrists free. “The things they do to us are...” She shook her head as her eyes appeared to grow moist. “Ah shit, now I'm blubbing in front of the school girl.”
"I'm going to make you a promise, Erin. I am going to swear on my very life and everything I love that if you help me, I will never abandon you. When I walk out of here and run a network in Patashqar for Kurgus, my number one priority will be to get you out of here. Whatever it takes, I will somehow buy you and free you. I will find a way.”
Erin sniffed and looked away from me, but I still held her wrists in my hands.
"I will establish contacts, gain influence, and I will use everything at my disposal to see that collar is removed from your throat. Now I know this is just so many words, but what other hope do you have? If I stay here in a collar, then you'll have no hope to cling to, and you can live the rest of your days as a kajira, but if you trust me, then there's a way out. It won't be tomorrow, it may not be next month or maybe even next year, but you will escape this with my help. I can't get you back to Earth but I can offer you a life as a Free Woman living in a walled house with me.” I looked into Erin's eyes as she gazed back at me. “Maybe you'd find you'd enjoy living in a walled house with me.” As I said that I leaned forward slightly and kissed Erin full on the lips. She seemed startled, but I could tell she was startled in a pleasant way, as she must have been deprived of female companionship of a sexual nature for many years now. And so I kissed Erin with all the techniques I had been trained in by Bahira. I felt her nipples stiffen as our bodies touched, and I knew before she spoke that I had won.
"Oh, Emma,” she said as we eventually broke apart. “Maybe you will make a half way decent agent after all...”
"Please, Erin, this is our only hope. Our only once in a lifetime opportunity to escape the worst that Gor has to throw at us.You could be happy again. Don't throw the chance of that away.”
The moment I heard Erin say the name of the town where her mother was born, it was like I suddenly withdrew into the back of my own head. Time seemed to slow down as a curtain of fog appeared before my eyes. My body seemed paralysed, unable to move, and I felt the uncomfortable sensation of being a prisoner within my own subconscious. Without meaning to I began to recite a series of words that meant nothing to me: Tarn-Five-Elipse-Fathom-Eighteen-Cable-Nine. And then as soon as I had spoken the last word, my paralysis lifted, as did the fog and again I was staring directly at Erin, though now Erin was unable to move. She gazed back at me with a glassy expression as she began to speak.
"After I have recited the coordinates of Tarn Strike you must decide whether to wipe the co-ordinates from my mind or allow me to retain them for future use. To delete my memory of them speak the word 'Argent'. To allow me to retain the memory, speak the word 'Sable'. For security reasons if neither word is recited after exactly 60 seconds, my memory will be automatically wiped. The spatial co-ordinates of Tarn Strike are 577-832-965-135. Do you wish these repeated?”
I blinked as the numbers came from her mouth. 577... 833, no, 832... um, 957? “Yes, say them again...” It suddenly dawned on me that I didn't have anything that I could write them down with!
"You have 51 seconds remaining,” said Erin in a monotone voice. “The spatial co-ordinates of Tarn Strike are 577-832-965-135. Do you wish these repeated?”
"577, 832, 965, 13... oh shit, I don't have a pencil and paper!” I gazed around at the training room, desperately looking for anything that I could make marks with and on. “Say it again...”
"You have 35 seconds remaining. the spatial co-ordinates of Tarn Strike are 577-832-965-135. Do you wish these repeated?”
I concentrated as best I could and repeated the words inside my head over and over again. I could remember them now, but would I still remember them by the time I saw Seremides again? I had to! I was obviously supposed to delete the knowledge from Erin's head after receiving the numbers, but that was on the assumption that I had the numbers written down. What would I do if I forgot a couple of them, and Erin no longer knew them? I had probably only 20 seconds left to make that decision...
"The co-ordinates will be deleted from my memory in 15 seconds unless you recite the counter code word,” said Erin, still in her trance.
577-832-965-13... I grimaced as I suddenly couldn't remember the next digit. 8? 9? 7? 5? No, definitely 3, and then 5 and then... I think it was 3. Oh God, could I trust myself to remember...
"10 seconds until auto deletion of memory...”
I could do this. I didn't need Erin as a back up. If Erin could remember, then our enemies might still require the information too. I obviously should delete it. It was important to delete it so that no one else might know. I could remember the number sequence.
"5 seconds until auto deletion of...”
"Sable!” I said quickly.
Erin's body suddenly shook, her eyes snapped back into focus and she stared at me with a curious expression, as if expecting something.
"What?” I asked.
"Wow, that was weird...” I could see from her expression that like myself, she had been aware of what was going on, but unable to influence things in any way.
I paid Erin no attention now. I had got what I needed and had to concentrate hard on remembering it. I had to hold those numbers in their perfect sequence in my head until I could be released from this pen and communicate them to Seremides.
My method of contacting Seremides was simple enough. I was to approach the guard, Jubal, and say the following to him:
'What is it Emma?” Like the other guards, Jubal no longer had much patience with me. I was considered to be a troublesome girl who they needed to keep a close eye on.
'I have been thinking these last couple of days and...” Here it was, the message that when relayed by Jubal, would inform Seremides that I had completed my mission. I fingered the metal chastity belt that was locked around my loins as I continued, “I beg slave rape from my Master. I no longer wish to be white silk. Please tell my Master his girl begs for his touch.”
Two frustrating days later, I was summoned by Jubal and informed that Seremides had come for me.
'My congratulations, Emma, on a successfully concluded mission.” Seremides uncorked a bottle of vintage red ka-la-na that he had instructed should be placed on a low pedestal in the room where I knelt. I say room, but in actual fact it was one in a series of twelve slave alcoves that lined the northern most wall of the building that surrounded the open courtyard above the underground slave pens. The alcoves were in a sense private reception areas where men could be reunited with their property at the conclusion of a girl’s training or indeed during the period of training if the man had a desire to check on the girl’s health and progress.
Like all the alcoves along the wall it consisted of three walls and a curtain for privacy. Inside the space (maybe ten feet by seven feet) was a simple slave couch with a variety of slave rings sufficient to secure a girl in a number of positions. The only ring in use today was a ring fitted to the foot of the couch to which a single chain was attached. The other end of the chain ended in a light ankle ring that was locked about my left ankle. The length of chain was sufficient for me to lie upon the couch or to reach the curtains of the alcove. It was not sufficiently long for me to pass through the curtains in to the corridor beyond. I was then, quite adequately secured, awaiting the arrival of my Master.
For some reason I had been told to dress myself in pleasure silks. I had done so, knowing that in just a few short hours I would be free once more and such things could be tolerated in the meantime. I was flush with excitement at putting all this behind me now, and so I didn’t object when Bahira had told me to apply light slave cosmetics to my lips, eyes and cheeks, and to perfume myself in one of their more alluring scents.
'You must be utterly ravishing when you are reunited with your Master,” she said. “He must see you at your very best.”
The pleasure silks were white, brief and scandalously arranged about my body with a slip knot tie at my left shoulder. A simple tug on the knot would quickly unravel the silks from my body. Beneath the silks I was of course naked and open, except for my chastity belt. Gorean slave garments have no nether closure as a girl is required to be available for use at any time.
None of this mattered though for I would be freed very soon. How good it would be to be free once more. I had suffered so much in the service of Kurgus, and now I was to receive credit, praise and rewards in abundance.
I had knelt on the tiled floor of the slave alcove, feeling apprehensive for it had been eight weeks now since I had last seen Seremides. What had he been doing in that time? Was he fully operational now on my behalf? Had he established a network of operatives that I might make use of? I touched the length of chain that secured my ankle to the couch. He should have kept me informed at regular intervals of his activities. Why had he simply left me in the pens this whole time? I was ignorant of everything that had gone on in Patashqar in the time I had been here. I resolved that once I was free I would admonish him, point out his various faults and failings and appraise him of how things would progress differently from now on.
I wished Bahira hadn’t instructed me to fix such sensual earrings into my earlobes. They were a reminder of the problems I would still face as a Free Woman, for the holes had long since passed the time when they might heal. I didn’t want Seremides to see me with pierced ears for he was Gorean and it would make him think much less of me. I was going to be his superior again, and such a thing would undermine my authority in Patashqar. It was Seremides's fault of course that my ears were now pierced with such erotic pieces of jewellery. He would pay for that. The report I would send to Kurgus would be scathing in many respects relating to him. Perhaps Kurgus would demote him further upon my recommendations? Perhaps he would in time be recalled and relegated to simple guard duties in the stables. I would like that.
Seremides seemed in a good mood when he arrived. I jumped, surprised, as the curtain to the slave alcove was brushed aside and he entered the enclosed space.
"Ah…” he said, in obvious delight as he gazed at my soft, perfumed body, so beautiful in the pleasure silks and the ankle chain. “Emma... you look ravishing, my dear. I came as soon as I received your message. You have met Erin, debriefed her and now possess the co-ordinates we seek?”
"Yes. The mission has been a success.”
I relayed the details as they were and watched as Seremides made a note of the numbers.
"577-832-965-157. What do they mean?” I asked.
"Do not concern yourself with the particulars of the co-ordinates, Emma. They represent in a sense a grid system of correspondingly small boxes within boxes that would apply to a detailed map of Gor. The first numbers outline the broader area, and then subsequently each following set of numbers further narrows the location to a pin point position.”
"I see. Do you know what the numbers relate to?”
"Only in a general sense. Somewhere in the Northern Forests. The Lady Melinda will be able to apply the co-ordinates to a Kurii map of this planet and be more exact.” Seremides had mentioned her name previously en-route to the Tahari. She had been one of two existing contacts we had within this city, the other being Safwan Samir.
"The Northern Forests are home to tribes of Panther Girls, are they not?” I recalled the panther girl, Tallia who had taught me in the first couple of months after I had arrived on Gor.
"Yes, they live and hunt within that region, as do various outlaws.”
"Kurgus will send armed men there I suppose to retrieve the weapons cache?” I remembered Erin had referred to it as 'Tarn Strike'.
"Something like that.”
"May I ask what were Kurgus's orders in the event I was successful in my mission?”
"You mean in relation to yourself? In relation to your current state of delicious bondage?”
"Yes.” I felt incredibly nervous. Surely Kurgus had given orders that I was now to be freed. Seremides knew why I was asking though. Obviously there was a niggling worry doubt deep down in the back of my mind that Kurgus might instead have chosen to break his word and keep me in bondage.
"His orders were very clear and to the point. Should you succeed in your mission, which you have done, you were to be freed.”
"Oh God!” I let out a deeply held breath and clasped my hands in relief before my face. “Oh God, thank you, thank you!”
Seremides laughed softly. “You doubted him, yes?”
"No. Not really. But there was always a worry that maybe...”
"Maybe Kurgus would keep you in a slave collar after the completion of your mission?”
"At times yes. During my darkest moments. I know it was a stupid, irrational fear, but I've been through so much, and Erin... well, Erin thought I wouldn't be freed. She was certain of it.” I laughed with relief. So much for Erin's vaunted experience in such matters. I wished she could see me now. “Oh God, this is such a weight off my mind.”
"Kurgus also said you are to be rewarded with fine apartments, fine clothes, money and so forth. You would be given some time to acclimatise yourself to Patashqar and enjoy yourself before Kurgus would call on you to perform another mission. The following days and weeks would then be yours to enjoy as you wished.”
"That is... this is such a relief. You have no idea. I kept thinking these dark thoughts that you'd keep me as a slave.”
Seremides laughed. “That's an understandable reaction. Emma. Look at you – you obviously are suited to a collar and silks. You make a superb slave-girl. Only a fool would free you.”
I laughed now too and stretched my leg, feeling the ankle chain move with it. I would soon be free again. It was a wonderful feeling. My first mission had been a success. “It's probably not a good idea to call Kurgus a fool though,” I said with a mischievous sparkle in my eyes. “He probably wouldn't appreciate the suggestion. You're telling the truth about me though? The instructions from Kurgus really do order my release?”
"In the event of the mission being successful, yes.”
"Which it is,” I said quickly, seeking clarification.
"Undoubtedly. That is beyond dispute.”
"And if I had failed? What were his instructions in that event?”
"Then you would have remained in the collar, a slave-girl, and I was ordered to have you branded.”
"Oh.” I shivered, imagining how close I had come to that scenario at times. “I would have been shipped back to the villa in Corcyrus as a slave?”
"Of course not, that would have been prohibitively expensive. I would simply have sold you here in the slave markets of Patashqar and added the money to my operational funds.”
"I see.” I sniffed.
"I think you are upset, Emma. You feel insulted perhaps that Kurgus would not care enough to keep you personally as a kajira in the event you had failed?”
"I really don't care one way or the other about that. I suppose he has a lot of girls in Corcyrus. He hardly needs me.” I thought of his little slut, Louise and how happy she would seem in the mornings after having spent the night with a man in his furs.
"And he has no particular need of another.”
"That is correct.”
"And if he did wish for another girl or two, he could easily procure them from the markets in Corcyrus?”
"You perceive the situation correctly, Emma. The markets of Corcyrus are overflowing with girls such as you. Many are very reasonably priced.”
I watched as Seremides poured a single glass of the vintage ka-la-na and raised it in a toast. “To our success. Now that we have the co-ordinates there will be no stopping us.”
"I do not have a glass of ka-la-na,” I said, as I knelt in soft pleasure silks on the tiled floor of the alcove, gazing up at him, as if I were a slave. I was uncomfortable now with the earrings fixed to my earlobes. They swished about me as I moved my head. I wanted rid of them now that I would soon be free. They reminded me of the terrible ordeal I had endured.
"There is but one glass here, Emma. I suppose the Slave Masters of Banu Hashim did not consider the possibility that a slave-girl might share the bottle with me.”
"It is of no consequence. I shall drink ka-la-na later when I am lodged in comfortable apartments with fine clothes. You will arrange for bottles of a similar or finer vintage to be sent to me there.”
Seremides smiled at that. “You look lovely, Emma. Truly slave beautiful. The pens have wrought an amazing transformation in you.”
I was annoyed by that. There was no need for him to remind me of such things.
"Where is Kara?” I asked.
"She has been sent into the city. She is with a man called Rashid who occasionally works for me.”
"Oh? I have not heard of him.”
"He is one of my personal contacts within the city. I recruited him while you were in the pens being trained as a pleasure slave.”
"You mean when I was in the pens fulfilling my mission.”
"That too.” Seremides smiled. “Rashid has his uses.”
"He is looking after Kara?”
"In a sense. You will meet him later. It has all been arranged.”
"He knows of me?”
"Indeed. I have told him much about you. He looks forward to making your acquaintance.”
"I trust I will not be seeing him the way I am now, dressed in pleasure silks,” I said icily.
"Have no fear on that score. You will not be dressed in pleasure silks when you meet Rashid.”
"It was a rhetorical question, Seremides. There's no need to be quite so literal all the time. Obviously I won't be wearing pleasure silks when I meet one of your operatives.”
"Call me Master, Emma.”
"The mission is over.”
"But we are still in the House of Banu Hashim, are we not? You are still in a collar, are you not? You are still yet a slave-girl, on her knees, in a wisp of pleasure silk? Appearances must be maintained.”
"Oh, very well… Master,” I said icily again. My fingers strayed to the light ankle ring I wore. It was locked about me, such that I could not move further than the curtain at the front of the alcove. “Why am I chained to this couch?”
"I believe it is standard protocol within this house when a Master comes to claim his kajira.”
"Do you have the key?”
"Why yes, I do.” Seremides smiled.
"Good.” I shifted my chained ankle slightly so he could see it clearly. “Then you can unlock it.”
"Yes, I can. At any time I choose.” Seremides drank some more of the ka-la-na and regarded my slave-like curves. “You really are very beautiful, Emma. Incredibly beautiful. Slave silks are simply breathtaking, adorning your body.”
"Thank you.” I said in a bitter tone of voice. I moved my chained ankle again, to remind him it was still secured on my body. “This Rashid – he is a warrior perhaps?”
"A court official? A Scribe? A Physician?”
"Then what is his caste? What use is he to us?”
"Why, he is a slaver, Emma.”
"A slaver? Do we have any use for such a man?”
"Indeed I do. There is a matter I wish him to attend to later on today for example. Of course he is but one of several men I have recruited these past two months.”
"Really? You mentioned nothing of this. I shall perhaps review his usefulness when I meet him. In future I wish to know in advance about any possible men we recruit for Kurgus’s cause.”
"I shall be interested in your assessment of his abilities when I take you to meet him. I have arranged a practical demonstration of his skills that I believe you will find enlightening.”
"I’m sure it will be fascinating.” I said sarcastically as I adjusted the slave silks a little where they threatened to slip and reveal my left nipple. “We should probably go now, Seremides; we should leave here. I see no point in delaying our departure. I have after all spent more than enough time in this terrible place.”
"I told you to call me Master, Emma.” He looked at me sternly.
"This is really not necessary. No one is listening.”
"I am listening, Emma. May I remind you that for the time being you are in fact a legal slave, registered in the city as my property. Do you not understand that?”
"Very well, Master.” Oh, but he was insufferable today. “Then the sooner I am freed the better. Why is Kara with Rashid?”
"I have arranged for Rashid to buy her.”
"What?” I grew alarmed at that. “You were going to sell her to me! We discussed a price! You accepted it!”
"You have the money?” he enquired. “On your person now?”
"No, not yet, obviously not yet, no.”
"I thought not. Then how do you propose to pay for her?”
"I will acquire the funds somehow!”
"May I remind you that you are currently a slave-girl and therefore you cannot technically or legally own anything, not money and not least of all a lovely slave-girl such as Kara.”
"Then I will buy her when I am free. I forbid you to sell her to Rashid.”
"Alas, I fear the sale was arranged in advance a few days ago. I have already accepted an advance payment from Rashid. It is too late to countermand the sale.”
"This is intolerable! Very well, I shall arrange to buy her back. I want to meet this Rashid immediately.”
"It is lucky then that I have already arranged for you to meet Rashid.” Seremides smiled. “He is very much looking forward to meeting you.”
"Good. Let me assure you I take a very dim view of your actions. You should have consulted with me first.”
"Why? She is my property remember. She has nothing to do with Kurgus’s network or interests. Her sale is a private matter. It need not concern you.”
"This is intolerable.”
Seremides smiled and drank some more wine.
"And why am I still chained!” I moved my left foot angrily. The chain clinked against the tiles. “You said you have the key?”
"Yes, I do.”
"Are you going to unlock this ankle ring?”
"Of course I shall. It would be difficult to take you to see Rashid if you remained secured to the couch.”
"Then do so.”
But Seremides continued to drink his wine. I rose to my feet and walked the short distance to the alcove curtain where the brief length of chain prevented me from taking a further step. My finger tips touched the curtain. Outside was the corridor that led to the courtyard with the iron grilles set into the ceiling of the slave cavern below. To the other side of the corridor was a walkway that exited the building, once you passed through three separate armed checkpoints.
"You really are very desirable, Emma. I had no idea two months in the pens would transform you in such a way. The way you move…”
"Quite.” I stood there, even more annoyed now. “Where are my clothes?”
"I do not understand.”
"My clothes. It was a simple enough question. The clothes I will wear when you take me to see this Rashid. I don’t see any clothes.”
"That is because I have not brought any.”
"You said I would not be dressed in these degrading pleasure silks when I met your man?”
"And you will not be.”
"So what am I to wear?”
"Sit on the couch, Emma, with your feet touching the floor.” Seremides finished the last of the ka-la-na and replaced the drinking vessel beside the bottle.
"What?” I glanced at the soft couch. “We have to go, Seremides.”
"We are not meeting Rashid for another hour. There is time yet.”
"Time? Time for what?”
"Firstly, I need to remove the belt you wear. Surely you do not wish to continue wearing it now that your period of training in the pens is at an end?”
"No, of course not. You are right. I wish it removed. It has I suppose served its purpose during my incarceration.” I sat down on the couch and opened my thighs. Blushing a little, I raised the thin diaphanous white silk to reveal the front piece of the belt with the key lock.
"It has kept you white silk,” said Seremides. “For that you should be grateful, yes? Some girls are raped in the slave pens.”
"I know.” I had heard their screams during the night. Occasionally guards would open a girl pen if they grew bored during their shift. They might then select a girl who had caught their eye during the preceding days and make use of her in the straw while the other girls in the pen pretended to sleep. Some girls however relished the opportunity to be had like that, and practically begged it. I despised those type of girls of course. “I am grateful for the precaution.” I looked away as Seremides produced the key, inserted it in the lock of the belt, and slid the belt from around my loins. “It feels good not to have that thing on me any more.” I quickly slid the soft silk back down as far as it might go, hiding my sex from his view. I was conscious how open my sex was now under this brief piece of silk. “I wish you wouldn’t look at me that way.”
"Like you want to rape me or something.”
I shifted position on the couch and heard the clink of the ankle chain again on the tiles. “I am still chained!” I struck the couch with the palm of my hand in frustration.
"One thing at a time, Emma.” Seremides regarded me closely.
"We should now be going,” I said, feeling nervous with a Gorean man standing over me like this. He was standing too close! He was inside my personal space!
"We are not due to meet Rashid for an hour or so. There is no rush.” He lifted my chin with the fingers of his right hand. My eyes flashed angrily at him for doing so as I clutched the softness of the couch.
"What are you doing? This is not appropriate!”
"I am enjoying the sight of the steel collar about your neck. Your hair frames it well.” He brushed my hair slightly back to reveal more of the collar. “Do you like your collar, Emma?”
"No! Of course not! Why should I?” I pulled my head away from his fingers. “Why are we wasting time?”
"Your ears are pierced. You look magnificent with these adornments.” He touched my earrings now – they were incredibly feminine and brushed lightly against my skin whenever I moved my head.
"I will instruct Kurgus to punish you for that oversight! You should have told the slave masters that I was exempt from ear piercing! I am furious with you! Your incompetence in the matter has left me now with pierced ears. Do you have any comprehension what that means to a Free Woman?”
"Lie on the couch, Emma, on your back and adopt an alluring and enticing pose, such as you have been taught to do in the pens.”
"What?” I moved my legs back and heard the clink of ankle chain against the floor tiles.
"You heard me. We have an hour still before I need to bring you to Rashid.”
"I will do no such thing!”
Seremides suddenly picked me up and threw me down onto the couch, onto my back. I lifted myself slightly in the soft furs that adorned its surface and looked up at him startled. I was an ankle chained girl who had been cast onto a pleasure couch in a slave alcove by a man.
"If you speak my name once more, I shall use the whip that hangs in this alcove on your soft perfumed body, Emma. Now lie seductively in the furs, as I ordered.”
"Please, no... this is insane... what are you doing?” I moved into one of the alluring slave positions I had been taught recently. In the soft lamp light my body would look ravishing like this.
"Understand this, Emma, you will be complicit in your rape. You will co-operate and encourage me. You will be pleasing and you will apply all of the skills you have learned in the slave pens of Banu Hashim and you will do so with a smile on your face. Or else I will send you back to one of the punishment holes and leave you there until you die of thirst. Am I clear?”
"Please… how can you do this? Did you lie about Kurgus's instructions?”
"Stupid kajira. No I did not lie. But you should understand this – there are many factions within the ranks of the Kurii, and a new power is rising in the Kur hierarchy that will put an end to our wasted days of subtle scheming. The new Kur order will take action in a far more direct and violent manner than the previous inefficient regime. Kurgus's orders in respect of you are therefore irrelevant, for you see, I no longer work for Kurgus.” And with that his hand went to the slip knot on my left shoulder and with a swift motion he stripped me of my silks and threw me back down on to the slave couch to be raped.
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