Lady Marissa's Problem
(a stand alone Gorean short story featuring a new character from the upcoming 'Shadows of Gor' novel)
It was intolerable of course, the way Lady Marissa's favourite Guardsman, Darius, was doting over his new slave-girl, Sasira. Like many Free Women, Marissa did not particularly like slaves. Obviously she understood that they were a useful part of Gorean society, and certainly she couldn’t imagine a world without them, but nevertheless there was something about the scantily clad girls that annoyed her. Darius had saved for many months to purchase a blonde barbarian girl from the pens of Attius, one of the more respectable slavers in the city of Corcyrus. The word 'respectable' had limited meaning of course when conferred upon the caste of slavers, but in this case it meant that Attius didn’t obviously assess Free Women as if they might be potential merchandise every time he met one. In contrast to some other slavers who would be noting down a woman's likely block price within minutes of meeting her, Attius was always polite and respectful to women such as Marissa – according them the same dignity as male customers. This pleased Marissa, because on the whole she didn’t trust or like slavers – an understandable opinion, and a sensible one. Even the kindest, most deferential slaver was really akin to a sleen on a leash. Marissa was intelligent enough to recognise that a slaver who was polite and respectful within the confines of a city might act very differently if encountered on the road if his guards outnumbered one’s own.
Not that travelling on the road was a problem for Marissa any more, now that she had the services of a number of professional Guardsmen whenever she travelled on official business for the Priest Kings. And because she wasn’t stupid, all her business was now classed as official business for the Priest Kings.
Unlike Marissa’s other guard, Lysander, Darius had been keen to buy a slave ever since he had entered Corcyrus in her employ. Week by week he saved his money – whatever money was left over from his frequent trips to the local tavern that is – until in the end he had enough to make a reasonable offer to Attius. There was currently a glut of barbarians on the market. Shipments from Earth had been on the increase throughout the year, and wagon loads of wide eyed, disbelieving girls in strange looking clothes were now a frequent sight on the auction blocks. Darius was therefore able to bargain Attius down by 20% of his asking price for the girl who had once been called Jill Clifton of the city of Cambridge.
Darius and Lysander enjoyed free lodging and board in the back rooms of Marissa’s town house located on the Street of Olni. Marissa herself maintained a large en-suite bedchamber on the first floor that opened out onto a balcony that in turn overlooked a medium size walled garden at the back. A private set of stairs led down to a formal reception room on the ground floor, which she could use to entertain polite guests.
The day that Darius returned with the blonde barbarian on a leash was the day that Marissa instinctively knew she had made a mistake in agreeing permission for the man to buy her. At first it wasn’t too bad. The girl was new to Gor, frightened and unable to comprehend what had happened to her. But as the weeks rolled by Darius taught her things in the privacy of his room – things that Marissa preferred not to think about – things that transformed the girl into a happy, vibrant slave, eager to learn and serve her new Master. Within two weeks she was making doe eyes at him whenever he gave her any attention. In the morning she would kneel, kiss and lick his feet and tie his sandals. She would serve him drinks with a touch of her lips on the rim of the cup. She would move in ways that were designed to remind him that her body was his to use. Her eyes would beg him for slave rape. All in all, it was turning out to be an incredibly irritating performance, and Marissa was beginning to speculate on whether it would be bad form to hire a slaver to steal the girl and sell her in the Tahari.
Marissa had refused permission for the girl to be dressed in silk. Instead a number of coarsely woven tunics had been purchased – more suitable for a kettle slave. The hemline fell to an inch or two above the knees, which was quite modest for a kajira. The tunic had short sleeves that almost touched the elbows, and a curved neckline that permitted no glimpse of her breasts. Even so, her lower legs and forearms were well displayed, and drove Darius to distraction on more than one occasion. Various tradesmen complimented Darius on his purchase, and suggested in a plain manner that they would be interested in trying her out for a fee. Darius had so far agreed on two occasions, much to the horror and dismay of the girl, and had pocketed 5 copper tarsks in the process.
At night Sasira would be chained to Darius’s bed where he would use her until the early hours of the morning. Marissa’s rooms were far enough away that she would not be disturbed, but it meant she didn’t care to venture downstairs to the ground floor after the energy bulbs were extinguished for fear of overhearing sounds of a slave in the throes of orgasm.
It didn't take long for the Lady Marissa to loathe the presence of Sasira. Her duties were reasonably light, and so she had plenty of time to sit in the garden outside or kneel beside Darius. She seemed to be everywhere. And she seemed so happy – so content. In the morning, when Marissa still felt sluggish from the glass or two of ka-la-na she had imbibed the night before, Sasira would greet the day with the energy and vitality of a girl who had enjoyed delicious orgasms throughout the night. Which of course she probably had. She skipped around the house, flush with good health while the Lady Marissa nursed a minor hangover. Her presence in the house would have been easier for Marissa to bear if the girl had been miserable. But if anything she seemed happier than Marissa, who now struggled with mounting piles of paperwork, administering not only her own business, but also her secret work for the Priest Kings of Gor. Both streams of work were of course making her very rich. One did not get to work for the Priest Kings without finding ways to enrich oneself in the process, but sometimes her working day was over twelve hours long.
She had taken advice from Brinn of the Sardar one night after they had discussed their upcoming work in Port Kar, and Brinn had poured an exceptionally fine ka-la-na that they might share. He had at first seemed amused by her numerous complaints relating to the luscious barbarian, but then suggested that Marissa should not appear confrontational over the issue of the girl, but should instead explain that the girl should be confined to the private room in which Darius slept. The Guardsman had to understand how sensitive Free Women were on the matter of slaves. It was distasteful to constantly see the girl about the house. Even modestly dressed (for a kajira) the girl was overwhelmingly desirable to men. Darius had never owned a slave before, and so this was new to him. Although typically Gorean in his dealings with the girl, he was very much taken by her, and relished having her in his sight. When the two were together there was a current in the air – a palpable tension as if at any moment he might throw the girl to the floor, strip her bare and take her. Marissa began to feel she was intruding in her own house.
In a sense Marissa understood that the girl was probably pleased with the man who had bought her. Marissa recognised that by all accounts Darius was probably considered handsome. Certainly he had broad shoulders, strong arms, thickly muscled legs and a clean healthy face unmarked by disease or scars. Yes, he was handsome, she considered from time to time. A slave might well enjoy being seized by him. Marissa of course had no interest in such things, she told herself – she was a Free Woman - her observation was simply that – an observation – in much the same way that she understood that grass was green. It was a matter of obvious fact that Darius was handsome, and strong, and powerful. It wasn’t something that Marissa thought about much. Only occasionally, like when he practised sword play in the garden, while Sasira knelt on the grass nearby. As it happened Marissa occasionally took a break from her work on the balcony overlooking the garden, and more often than not such breaks coincided with the times Darius worked up a sweat during his extensive training sessions. In his short tunic, with his long hair tied back by a leather thong, Darius’s muscles seemed taut and bronzed - gleaming with fresh sweat as he hacked and parried, thrust and cut at imaginary targets.
Once Darius paused to allow Sasira to mop his brow with a wad of rep cloth, and as she did he happened to glance up and see Marissa standing on the balcony, looking down. He smiled and raised his sword high as he called out a greeting to his elegant employer. Marissa withdrew back into her room without saying a word, angry that he had seen her; angry that he might have thought she was watching him, when of course she wasn’t (why would she want to watch him? She was a busy woman – she was only taking a short break after all); angry that Sasira had been there with her long blonde hair and her stupid barbarian accent and her basic grasp of Gorean that made her even more stupid.
So Marissa decided to address the problem of the kajira, Sasira sooner rather than later. Darius would be ordered to observe strict rules regarding the girl’s presence in the house. The only alternative would be for him to seek accommodation elsewhere. Of course Marissa didn’t want to actually lose Darius to a different part of the city. It was convenient that he lived in her building. For purely practical reasons. of course, it made sense that he should live there. Marissa preferred him to live there. She wanted him to live there. Brinn had advised Marissa on this matter too, suggesting that Marissa should sweeten the discussion by first reassuring the man that she valued him, and did not want to lose him. No man likes to be pushed, especially not by a woman. Marissa would make it clear that she valued his work. He in turn would accept her reasonable criticisms of the girl and indeed his unsatisfactory handling of her. A compromise would be agreed, and the girl would remain out of sight and out of mind. Marissa would be able to speak to Darius in future without fear of the girl hovering close to his ankles, pouting at him with her slave lips.
Darius was due to arrive in just a few minutes. He had been told this morning that his employer wished to speak to him on an important matter. That was good. It gave the meeting a sense of gravitas. He would arrive knowing that the matter under discussion would be formal and serious. He would be apprehensive perhaps, fearing that maybe his work had failed to meet certain exacting standards. Perhaps criticism would be offered. So when Marissa praised his conduct, and told him how much she valued his service he would seem relieved. And then Marissa could take advantage of that and turn to the matter of the girl, and by then Darius would be only too happy to concede to whatever arrangements Marissa had in mind. Maybe he would even whip the girl for displeasing Marissa. That would be a bonus.
It was a clever plan, designed to overcome the fragile male ego. Marissa congratulated herself on her intuition and diplomacy. It wasn’t truly difficult to deal with men, provided one understood them as she did. They might be stronger and tougher, but she was far cleverer. Did she not for example now have many male merchants courting her good will in the hope of receiving preferential treatment from her thriving business? She was getting used to being flattered and praised by men keen to advance themselves within the caste, for it was widely known now that Marissa enjoyed the good will of several important people within Corcyrus. Why only yesterday Marissa had turned down the application for three new mercantile licences by Ressius the wool merchant because she had been disappointed by the poor quality of ka-la-na served at his last party. Ressius would no doubt do much better next time if he had any sense. Already he had sent an apologetic gift of twelve expensive bottles after hearing third party rumours that Marissa had been displeased.
With just a few minutes to go, Marissa checked her appearance in a wall mirror. She had decided to wear her hair long and unbound this afternoon, for comfort and obviously not because it looked pretty. After all she had no need to leave the house on business, and since it took over half an hour to arrange her hair up, it was easier to leave it down. She toyed with some of the locks of hair, moulding them with her fingers in a design that looked pleasing. A few strokes of her hair brush added texture and depth to the hair. She continued to brush the hair for several minutes until it was glossy and vibrant and tangle free. It occurred to her that her hair was almost as long as Sasira’s, but far lovelier.
A few cosmetics from Ar were arranged on her dressing table. They had been purchased from an expensive store in the market place that catered exclusively for Free Women. The cosmetics were subtle and elegant, not at all like the sensual and vulgar cosmetics available for slaves at a fraction of the price. Pursing her lips, Marissa decided on impulse to add a touch of foundation cream and eye-liner before the meeting – just a small amount to accentuate her natural beauty. Perhaps a hint of perfume too… a subtle scent that, like the cosmetics, was designed exclusively for Free Women. She dabbed a spot of the scent behind each ear and on the wrists and breathed deeply. Catonius did produce very fine cosmetics and perfumes. The man was a genius, even if he was a little rude at times to his elegantly attired customers. Certainly his prices were very high, which added a certain exclusivity to his products.
After a few more checks of her appearance and some more work on her hair, Marissa arranged herself behind her desk, pretending to be reading and working on various documents when Darius arrived. Such a sight would remind Darius how important she now was within the city. He would be nervous, apprehensive, and he would see a powerful woman who had summoned him to her office. He would no doubt be eager to agree to whatever she said.
There was a short knock on the door.
“One moment!” cried Marissa as she rose from her chair to quickly check her appearance once more. She licked her lips to moisten them and worked some stray locks of her hair with a long toothed comb. She turned her head each way to view herself in profile and then, satisfied that she looked pretty, quickly returned to her desk and sat in such a way that she could look up slowly to meet his gaze when Darius entered the room.
Darius walked into the room dressed in a short practice tunic and sandals. It was obviously his intention to work out in the garden after the meeting. Marissa slowly glanced up as if she had all but forgotten the arranged meeting, glancing no longer than was really necessary at his strong arms and legs – at their oiled, bronze sheen. Yes, she supposed, slaves might well find him attractive. She wasn't sure of course, because she was a Free Woman, but she supposed that would be the case. “Oh yes, Darius,” she said as she pretended to consider what he was doing here.
“You wanted to see me, Lady.”
“Yes… yes… so I did.” With a languid gesture Marissa lowered her pencil and pushed away a sheaf of papers. “Please sit down.” She motioned with her hand to the chair opposite her desk.
“I’m glad you asked to see me, Lady, as I was about to ask for an appointment anyway.”
“You were?” Marissa regarded him with surprise. “What about?”
“It is with regret that I will be leaving your employment at the end of the week.”
“What?” Marissa was dumbstruck. “But why? if it concerns money...”
“No.” he held up the palm of his hand to indicate he hadn't finished. “I have given the matter much thought and I think it is the only course of action left honourably open to me. I have made enquiries and a merchant by the name of Catonius is keen to hire me. He has offered similar terms to yourself. The nature of my current situation compels me to seek employment with a man instead of a woman. Believe me that I would not have left for any other reason.”
“Wait! What reason? You haven’t said why you’re leaving. Darius – you’ve been with me since the very start! What is going on?”
“Lady, it has occurred to me that through my own stupidity I have placed you in a dishonourable position. When I bought Sasira I failed to take into account the delicate sensitivity of a free woman to the presence of a sensual girl such as Sasira. I can only admire and appreciate the restraint you must have shown these past few weeks to seeing her around the house. It must be very distasteful for you to have to endure the presence of a girl who is so overtly sexual as Sasira. I can only offer you my sincere apologies and my assurance that I will always think highly of you while I work in the employ of Catonius.”
“This is about Sasira?” Marissa had not expected anything like this. Her rehearsed speech was suddenly forgotten as she realised one of her two trusted men was about to leave.
Darius nodded. “It would be better for me to work for a man now that I own the girl. Her presence will not cause offence to Catonius the way it must cause offence to you.”
“She’s really not that bad,” said Marissa quickly, as the sudden shock of losing Darius muddled her thoughts.
“You are kind to say so, Lady, which is one more reason why I so regret leaving your service. Believe me if there was any way…”
“No, honestly – she’s a delightful girl. You did very well buying her. Obviously there are a few niggling issues, but…”
“So we will be gone in just three days time. In the meantime I will…”
“Wait!” Marissa held up her hand. “I think you over-estimate the effect of having a red silk girl in the house. That’s no reason to go. Please stay! Darius – I don't want some stranger guarding me.”
“But surely you do not want Sasira in your house? A girl like her – so feminine – so sexual – so desiring a Master’s touch – her body burning to be taken at any time of the day or night…”
“I’m sure she has many fine qualities,” said Marissa quickly. “And she’s often useful around the house.”
“And yet, dressed as she is… the shortness of her skirt… her long supple legs… the soft curves of her body… her beautiful lips, so easy to ravish… to crush in a Master's kiss...”
“Darius, please reconsider. I’d hate to lose you to Catonius. There’s room for both of you here. I’m a broad-minded Free Woman. Why, I hardly notice the girl!”
“Really?” Darius looked puzzled. “You don’t object to her open sexuality?”
“Is she sexual? I can’t say I’ve really noticed.”
“The way her eyes beg me to take her and force myself upon her, morning, noon and night?”
“Really, Darius, I think you’re noticing things that no one else notices…”
“The way her body trembles to my slightest touch, or the touch of any man come to that?”
“She might just be cold – there’s a draft occasionally through the back door.”
“I am surprised Lady. I thought perhaps the sight of Sasira might trouble you. If that is not the case…” Darius considered the matter carefully for a moment, apparently torn between decisions. “If it is really not a problem…” he scrutinised Marissa's expression carefully, looking intently for any sign of doubt on her part.
“Have I ever said it is?”
“I suppose I could reconsider leaving…” Darius scratched his chin. “I have been with you since the very beginning after all.”
“Yes, yes you have. And a more loyal guard I couldn’t possibly ask for.”
“But if I thought Sasira was troubling you in any way, I’d feel honour bound to leave…”
Marissa clenched her fingers into small balled fists underneath her desk. “A sweet girl like Sasira? Surely not. Banish such thoughts from your mind immediately!”
“Then I am happy to remain in your employ, Lady. I should perhaps mention that as I thought I was leaving, I took the liberty of shortening Sasira’s skirt by four inches…”
“What’s four inches here or there,” said Marissa with a strained smile.
“And cut off the short sleeves on her work tunic. The weather is quite warm after all.”
“Indeed it is…” Marissa’s fists grew tighter.
“The plunging v-neck incision in the front of her tunic that I made with a knife is hardly worth mentioning.”
“I’m sure I wouldn’t even have noticed if you hadn’t told me…”
“Lady, I can see why you are so respected and admired within the city. You have my gratitude. I think that Sasira will be overjoyed that we will be staying.”
“How wonderful… for her…”
Darius rose to leave. “If I may, your hair...”
“My hair?” Marissa looked startled at the sudden change of topic. She touched it with her right hand. Was something wrong with it?
“It looks good worn loose like that. You should wear it like that more often.”
“Oh!” Marissa secretly smiled. “That's... that's very kind of you to say so... I really haven't done anything with it... been so busy... haven't even had time to brush it...”
“Really? It looks glossy and healthy and very pretty.”
“I had no idea. Why, thank you.” Marissa beamed at her guard.
“If you would, perhaps, stand up...” Darius motioned with his hand politely. Marissa sprang to her feet and stood there feeling very proud of her hair as Darius walked round the back of her desk to inspect her.
“Yes, Lady, very pretty hair. Such a shame you always wear it pinned up.”
“Well, when one is out on business, or attending formal receptions...”
“I understand, Lady. But at home?”
“Well... I suppose that's different. There's only you and Lysander about, and you've both known me for a few years now.”
“Indeed we have. Indeed we have.” He stood behind Marissa where she couldn't see him, but could feel his presence.
“So...” she began.
“So...” replied Darius.
“I imagine you will be practising with the sword soon?”
“Yes, Lady, though it is a very hot afternoon. I am already regretting the tunic. I will probably remove it and train in just a breech cloth. Afterwards Sasira will massage palm oil into my muscles so that my body cools down.
“Oh.” Unseen, Marissa's face blushed a little.
“But you called me here to speak to me? There is something you wanted to say?”
“Just... just that I'm very pleased with your performance since we came to Corcyrus.”
“That is all?”
“Yes, I just thought... I just thought I should let you know.”
“Thank you. Feedback on my work is always welcome. You may sit down now, Lady.”
Marissa quickly gathered her skirts and sat down as Darius made to leave.
“It was a pleasure speaking to you, Lady.” And with that, and a satisfied smile on his lips, he left.
The 'Chamber Slave' picture is copyright Necrella who posts Gor inspired art here: