Chapter One: The Best of Times
It was I suppose the best of times, until it became the worst of times.
Six years had passed since I had played my part in the downfall of Kurgus, Seremides and Miss Elizabeth Bentley on the shores of Lake Siljan. I had perhaps imagined my story was over, and that there would be nothing left to tell. I had said goodbye to Rachel, and I had submitted fully and completely to Brinn of the Sardar. I truly thought my days of adventure were over.
How little I knew.
I had fallen into the routine of enjoying lunch in Brinn's secret garden of contemplation, which was (rolls eyes here) the place he used to go to and do all his zen warrior stuff, sitting cross legged with his sword, surrounded by burbling water features and jasmine scented flower beds. I liked it too because it was a secluded spot that the men and women on the estate didn't venture into without permission. As First Girl in such a large household I was pleasantly free of any of the manual chores which I assigned to the other slaves, of either sex. I of course had work to do, but it was of an administrative nature, overseeing the smooth running of the slave duties. Every slave called me Mistress, and by now there were quite a lot of them - over thirty girls and close to fifty men, for there was a great deal of upkeep to the estate. The garden grounds rolled gently down towards a river bank lined with reeds and pleasant grassy embankments where you might almost imagine scenes from 'the Wind in the Willows' being played out. I lay on my back on the neatly clipped grass, luxuriating in the mid Spring sunshine as the sound of chirping birds in the trees competed with the sound of laughing, shrieking children down by the river bank.
I could just about hear my son, shouting, "I am Marik of the Sardar! Die by my blade!" As he no doubt wrestled and fought with the four foot tall plush soft toy made in the image of a Kur that Brinn had given him for his fourth birthday. I sighed as I shielded my eyes from the sun with my right hand. His sister Jacinta would no doubt be playing the hostage who has to be rescued again. She would be smothered in layers of veils far too big for her and would pretend to be the Kur's captive so that her brother could save her from the terrible beast. It was just a childish game, but like so many things on Gor it served to reinforce the time honoured gender stereotypes that would shape their adult lives. I had Shannon, one of the slave-girls on the estate, keeping a watchful eye on them while they played.
At least the game reinforced in Marik's mind the primary responsibility he had in life to always protect his sister, no matter what. Like any mother I was worried for them both, for ultimately Marik would grow up to be a warrior like his father, with all the risks that entailed, and as for Jacinta, it was obvious that she was going to grow up to be an incredible beauty, and on Gor such beauty was always a double edged sword. Men would be prepared to kill one another for Jacinta when she became a woman.
The bells on the gate to the secret garden chimed as Anya pushed it open to bring me my lunch. I smiled as I saw Chloe following her down the pathway that snaked through the ornamental sculptures. Chloe often joined me for lunch if she saw it being delivered and so I waved her over.
"Hello, Mistress," said Chloe as she dropped to her knees before me. "I just happened to be in the area and..." she smiled mischievously.
"And you smelled lunch," I said with a smile back. I motioned for Anya to start laying out the dishes on the grass. Slave-girl I might be, but as First Girl I enjoyed quite the good life, all things told. I was naked, but I had draped my slave tunic over my loins as I lay there, the modesty being for the benefit of my children as they played nearby, for I was wearing an iron belt once more, and I felt uncomfortable having to explain its presence to my daughter in particular.
"Yum, meatball tagine with apricots," said Chloe as she lifted the lid to the first of the pots and sniffed the aromatic food.
"I take it you've seen to your morning chores?" I said to Chloe as she began to lay out the accompanying vegetables in their small pots for us both to eat.
"All done, Mistress," she said. Like me she wore an engraved collar around her throat that identified her as Brinn's property, and like me Chloe had once, many years ago, been an Earth man who had been subjected to the Kurii machines that had transformed her body into that of a woman's, with the complexion of a Persian woman from the middle east (I understand that was her ethnicity when she had been a man as well, though we rarely talked about our old lives, and when we did, only in gender neutral roundabout ways, preferring not to be reminded of the men that we had once been), and long dark hair that is almost jet black in most types of light. At five feet, two inches tall, she is a little shorter than me. Chloe had lived in the city of Plymouth in England where she had shared similar fantasies to myself when it came to cross dressing and dreaming of being a woman. She had been taken on Halloween in 2016 by Udumi and had woken in a slave pen on Gor some time later. After a period of training she had been part of a batch of girls that Brinn had bought soon after he had been awarded this villa and its sprawling grounds. I think I was a comfort to her in those early months of training when she came to terms with the reality of what had happened to her. In many ways I recognised the fear and dismay that I had been subject to in the slave pens of Banu Hashim when I looked in to her eyes, and in the same way that Rachel had tried to protect me, I chose to help Chloe in accepting her new body and her new life on Gor. Chloe and myself had bonded soon after, though it was always clear that as First Girl I was in charge of her. I was, I think, a fair First Girl, and provided a slave behaved herself, she had nothing to fear from me.
Chloe surprised me quite early in her slavery when she came to me one night and begged me to teach her to dance. She had seen me dance before Brinn and his chosen warriors in his great hall while she had carried cups of wine from table to table. She had watched in amazement as I had displayed myself on the tiles in one of the many chain dances I knew, and she had seen how the eyes of every man in that great hall were locked upon me for the duration of the dance.
Later that night when the warriors had returned to their rooms, taking with them the slaves who had been particularly alluring, Chloe had timidly approached me and begged to learn.
“Why?” I asked her.
She blushed, her eyes couldn't meet mine, and she stammered something about wanting to be pleasing.
“Pleasing to men?” I asked, for despite her considerable beauty, men tended to overlook Chloe as they assumed, quite rightly, that she was raw and untrained. I knew only too well how the slave fires can burn inside a girl when she has been neglected for too long.
“Please, Mistress... please...”
And so I taught Chloe, and under my instructions she became an exquisite dancer who very soon was performing in the great hall when I was curled at Brinn's feet beside his curule chair, watching and nodding in pride as the girl, my pupil, now captivated the attention of the men the way I had done.
From that day on men no longer neglected Chloe in the evenings...
I shifted position from prone to kneeling as Chloe pulled her brief slave tunic up over her body so that she might sunbathe too. She of course wasn't locked in an iron belt.
"Still hiding the belt from the children?" asked Chloe as she filled two bowls and passed the first one to me. I nodded and gazed back towards the slope that led eventually down to the reeds surrounding the river bank.
"The last thing I want is Jacinta asking me whether she can wear one as well, thinking I'm wearing it for fun! It's bad enough she's old enough to associate the steel collar around my neck with the collars around the throats of the other girls."
"Does Jacinta understand that you're a slave?"
"On a certain level, yes. Though it helps that she sees I'm in charge of the other slaves. It's going to be more difficult as they get older. At some point after they hit puberty I'll be supposed to refer to them as Master and Mistress. Brinn is going to have to talk to them at some point. He has to explain to them the dynamics."
"That just sounds so weird to me," said Chloe as she finished serving. "Technically because they're free they could have you whipped once they're classed as adults."
"They would never do that. But whatever they did it wouldn't change the fact that they're my children and I love them." It was a beautiful spring day and I felt very much at peace with the world. Years had passed by since Brinn and I had saved Gor from the rebel Kur forces and their attempt to destroy the Sardar mountain range that was home to the shadowy, reclusive Priest Kings. We had settled into a comfortable routine since then with me effectively running the household and Brinn alternating missions for the Sardar with periods of down time. I had become pregnant, much to my shock at the time, for Brinn had not told me he had given me the neutralising drug that negated the effects of slave wine. I was fertile again, but the first I had known about it was when my menstrual cycle ceased. At first that didn't ring alarm bells as I was relatively new to being a girl, and didn't really consider the warning signs, especially as I assumed I was still protected by the slave wine.
Brinn's physicians examined me the moment they noticed my menstrual cycle was late, and when they told me the news I was livid at the thought that Brinn might make this decision about me without even mentioning it. I had the mother of all screaming hissy fits with him that night, safe in the knowledge that he couldn't so much as spank me for fear of endangering his embryonic children. I think I ended up throwing things around his bed chamber, much to his astonishment, and under any other circumstances I would have been tied to a slave ring and whipped until my back was a chess board of red stripes.
I was pregnant! Without even being consulted on the matter!
I really was furious. Yes I wanted to be a woman, more than anything I could think of, but being pregnant? I was sure I wasn't capable of being a mother. I had only recently been a man after all. In the end Brinn poured a bucket of cold water over me to shut me up.
It didn't shut me up of course, and Brinn, powerless now to actually strike me, ended up chaining me to a couch and leaving me there for the night. I twisted and fumed in my chains, knowing I now had life forming inside my womb.
As the weeks wore on I began to accept my pregnancy. We talked and Brinn explained he wanted sons to carry on his name, and he genuinely seemed surprised that I wasn't delighted at the prospect of carrying them to term. We rowed some more, and Brinn grew more and more frustrated and angry with my reactions, and his own inability to enforce discipline on me without risking the children.
But then something changed in me. Maybe many women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant go through the same wild roller coaster of emotions before the body's built in maternal instincts come to the fore. But gradually I mellowed and as my belly began to grow, and the physicians confirmed I had two children inside me, I began to feel an overpowering sense of love and a desire to protect them. How much of this is truly me, and how much of it is the by product of the Kurii machines that changed my sex, reshaped my body, and perhaps subtly changed my mind, I have no way of knowing.
I gave birth to a boy and a girl. The boy Brinn insisted we named Marik, and I stubbornly insisted that we name the girl Jacinta, after Rachel. Brinn was by that time happy to concede such a minor detail if it meant an end to perpetual pouting on my part. On the day they were born, I knew I was helplessly in love with them, as any woman would be. After a surprisingly easy labour, I held them in my arms - such tiny fragile bundles, and I cried, astonished at what I had created inside of me.
As I gazed down at the helplessly fragile lives that I held in my arms my previous reservations faded to inconsequence. I had been freed a couple of weeks before I gave birth and it felt strange to feel the collar unlocked and removed from my neck after so long. It would only be a temporary thing of course, for it was important that my children be born free, and if I had been a slave at the moment I gave birth, then their first breath of air would have been as slaves.
To my mind my status as a Free Woman was obviously born out of necessity, and yet Brinn suddenly treated me very differently. To my amazement he insisted I wore the long flowing gowns and veils and on one particular morning he admonished me for showing my bare wrists. And to my further amazement I found the cumbersome layers of gowns and robes to be stifling and constricting. I hated them and actually preferred the feeling of wearing nothing more than a slave tunic, but Brinn insisted I should dress properly while I was free. He accorded me a bizarre form of cordial respect unheard of in our relationship to date, and even the slave-girls treated me differently.
I recovered quickly from giving birth, and within a week Brinn deemed it time to enslave me again. It was very formal. He gathered the household, including the slaves, into the great hall where I was led in wearing some of the most elaborate gowns, robes and veils that money could buy. Slave-girls had been in attendance all morning, fussing over my hair, applying makeup to my eyes, and dressing me in layers upon layers of fine cloth. By the time I was led into the great hall I felt like a bride at a wedding.
A slaver was in attendance to record and document the legal proceedings. I was told I was to contractually sell myself into slavery and for that purpose I was given a tarn disc of solid gold. In the great hall in front of all the household, I confirmed my name, Emma Anderson of the city of London, and I sold myself to Brinn with the payment of the coin. This is a custom infrequently seen on Gor whereby a Free Woman may if she so wishes pay a nominal sum of money to sell herself to a slaver.
I stood there silently as the sale was notarised and made legal, and then Brinn, who sat on his high Curule chair, ordered my slave-Girl 'hand maidens' to strip me naked. This they did, and I was then told to kneel in collaring position to receive a new collar (for some reason the old one is never re-used).
I was once again a slave-girl.
To my surprise the other slave-girls were permitted, and indeed encouraged, to cheer and applaud in the Gorean manner once my enslavement was complete. This apparently is common. And then, despite my position in the house as a First Girl, I was commanded to approach each girl in turn, kneel, and proclaim myself as Emma, and add the words 'la Kajira'. Each girl then in turn kissed me on the forehead.
A physician then had me kneel and drink slave wine which was as foul as the first time I had drunk it. Brinn then formally appointed me again as First Girl in his house and awarded me with a slave crop and the ritual was over.
That was four and a half years ago, and I confess I have been happy since then. My children are strong and beautiful. Marik will be a mighty warrior and Jacinta will see the sons of powerful men vying to win her hand in Free Companionship, for who would not wish to conjoin their house with that of Brinn of the Sardar, he who single handedly saved Gor from nuclear annihilation?
I am so proud of them.
Three weeks ago Brinn left on another mission for the Priest Kings to whom he continues to owe his allegiance. His duty took him to Port Kar, but before he left he had me drink the inhibitor serum that would neutralise the slave wine.
"You mean?" I hadn't expected this.
He nodded and, in his understated way added, "to form a shield wall I need at least two sons."
I wasn't so keen on being introduced to the iron belt again (it's not actually made of iron of course - that would quickly rust) and protested as Brinn ordered me to lie on the great couch so that he could lock it around me.
"You could have given me the inhibitor serum when you got back," I said as I opened my legs and felt him fit the polished steel belt in place.
"The serum takes a while to be effective. I want you to be ready for me when I return," said Brinn. "Besides which, you are such a hot desperate slut when you've been locked in that belt for a few weeks."
"I'm a hot desperate slut after just a few days, Master," I said as I placed my hand on the cloth of his tunic that covered his penis. "The belt can wait for a few hours, yes?" And then I did something with my hand that quickly ensured Brinn cast aside the belt instead of locking it.
I very much dislike being locked in an iron belt. Aside from the obvious discomfort of wearing it, I'm normally not used to being deprived of sexual contact for so long. It doesn't help when I see other slave-girls in the household being summoned to bedrooms at the end of the day's chores. Chloe for example took great pleasure in teasing me with accounts of being summoned to the furs of one or another of Brinn's guardsmen.
"Have you ever been had by Erskine?" She said to me yesterday over lunch.
"Oh, you're missing out. He had me last night. He is incredibly hard and so commanding. Would you like to hear all about it?" She winked and glanced knowingly at my belt.
"You are aware I can have you whipped whenever I want?" I said in pretend irritation. "Not to mention switch your diet from meatball tagine with apricots to Gorean supermarket 'nice price' discount slave gruel?"
The fact that Chloe simply stuck her tongue out at me and grabbed the last slice of freshly baked sa-tarna bread before I could reach it, probably spoke volumes for my attempt at being 'bad cop' First Girl.
"Sorry Mistress," she said with a mouthful of tasty tagine, "I keep forgetting you're the only girl on the estate who has to lie awake at night, all frustrated, licking her chains and dreaming of big thick cock that she can't have. Poor little Emma..." she laughed.
"I haven't assigned who's cleaning the toilets tomorrow, you know," I said drily.
I simply stared at her with a pretend cruel expression until she handed over the last slice of bread.
"That's better." I rolled onto my back and dipped the bread into the tagine sauce.
"You're just so cruel," said Chloe. "Always abusing your authority..."
"But of course. Suck it up slave-girl!" I said with a grin.
The sun felt relaxing on my skin, and with nothing more that needed my attention for an hour or two I enjoyed the luxurious sensation of lying on the grass doing absolutely nothing. Chloe lay close by with her eyes closed, only occasionally turning on to her side or stomach to ensure an even tan.
"We're lucky," I said after a while. "Life could be a lot worse than this."
Chloe nodded as she lay there half asleep. We heard the excited voices of my children as they came running up the slope from the river bank where they had been playing. I had enough time to pull my slave tunic over my body and wriggle the tight fabric down over my hips to hide the iron belt from view before Marik came scampering into view, closely followed by Jacinta who looked a sight with her head swaddled in enormous lengths of semi-opaque veils. There was no need for a child to wear veils before puberty, but many young girls liked to do so because it made them feel all grown up. It was the equivalent I suppose of a young girl trying on her mother's shoes that were several sizes too big.
"Mama, mama, I killed a Kur!" screamed Marik as he ran towards me with a wooden sword in one hand and the detached head of the plush soft toy in his other hand. It had been made with Velcro like strips so that the head could be separated from the body.
"Another Kur?! My big, mighty warrior son!" I held my arms wide and smiled as Marik ran into them.
"It wanted to eat Jacinta, but I chopped it with my sword!" Said the boy. Jacinta stood beside him now in a gown that was so long it trailed fifteen inches past her feet. She stood there like a proud Ubara as she layered the length of veil a few more times around her face.
"I wasn't scared of the Kur," she said with pride.
"Of course you weren't," I said as I pulled her into my embrace. "You're the bravest girl on Gor, just like your God Mother Rachel was."
Marik pulled himself free now as I hugged Jacinta, and he ran round on the lawn in spiralling circles, hacking and slashing at will with his wooden sword. He wore a scarlet tunic and sandals and looked remarkably like a mini-Brinn. "Mama, look at my sword!" And now he threw the plush Kur head into the air and chopped at it with his wooden sword as it followed the tug of gravity towards the ground. He carried on whacking it with his sword with the sort of joy that can only be seen in the eyes of happy children pretending to kill something. "I'll kill a real Kur when I'm big, mama!"
"I'm sure you will. And they'll all be scared of you, Marik. And you'll always protect your sister, won't you?" I held Jacinta tightly and kissed her on the head. I don't think she had ever known fear, but the outside world was very different from the secure home she enjoyed in the Sardar.
"And you, mama. I won't let anyone hurt you when I'm bigger."
I laughed as I re-arranged Jacinta's cumbersome array of mismatching veils. "Thank you, Marik, but remember if there's ever a decision to be made, you protect Jacinta before me. You promise me?"
"Yes, mama." And then he was off again, charging like a maddened Tharlarion across the lawn, almost colliding with Shannon as she skipped out of the way. I heard him shout "Sardar!" As he ran back down towards the river bank with his toy sword held high.
"Brinn must be very happy with him," said Chloe as she rolled on to her side facing me.
"Yes he is," I said. "Very happy indeed. He'll be home in a couple of weeks. And then I'll be rid of this wretched belt again." I finished arranging Jacinta's veils and watched as she walked elegantly towards a bed of red and white flowers to pluck one of them and carry it to me.
"Thank you, Lady Jacinta. You are very kind to me," I said as I took the present.
And then she looked at me and said softly, "why are you a slave-girl, mama?"
I looked at Chloe who raised her eyes in surprise and subtly shook her head. What was I supposed to say to that? Jacinta had never asked me before.
"I'm a special slave-girl," I said as I gathered my daughter back in my arms and sat her on my lap. "I'm papa's slave-girl, and that makes me a very important slave. I tell all the other slaves what to do. That's good, isn't it?" I said with a smile.
"I suppose..." said Jacinta after a while. "Will I have to be a slave one day?"
"No, of course not. Don't be silly. You're the Lady Jacinta, Daughter to Brinn of the Sardar and you'll be the Free Companion to a mighty warrior one day. You'll live in a big house with slaves of your own and you'll be very happy." Woe betide anyone who might think they could enslave Brinn's daughter, I thought to myself. That would be asking for an unrelenting amount of killing in response.
"Jacinta! Jacinta!" Marik's voice echoed up from the thick reeds at the river bank. "Come and play!"
I nodded to Shannon and she paced discretely behind Jacinta as the girl jumped off my lap, lifted up the ridiculously long trail of her gown and hurried back down the slope, out of sight.
"So the questions have begun," said Chloe as she lay there.
"Brinn's going to have to talk to them soon. I've dreaded them getting old enough to understand I'm not Free. It's going to be difficult."
"It would be a lot easier if Brinn freed you and made you his Free Companion."
I sighed. "He's never going to do that." It was true. Brinn had never wanted a Free Companion.
"Some men do," said Chloe.
"Not Brinn." And although I didn't say it to Chloe, I didn't know if I truly wanted to be a Free Companion, for I knew that the sex would be very different. Did I really want to be treated with respect and dignity in bed? There were pluses and minuses to being free. But then there were my children to consider and how they would eventually regard me in later years if I remained a slave.
"So how are you coping in the iron belt?" Asked Chloe to change the subject.
"Badly." I laughed softly. "You're not far off when you joked about me licking my chains. Some nights it's like nails down a blackboard. I just can't sleep, like I'm burning up inside. I'm a very sexual slave-girl. I'm needy."
"Hmm. I can't imagine." She plucked at some blades of grass with her right hand.
"That's because the men are always lining up to fuck you every night. Did you know there's actually a waiting list at the moment?"
"Really?" Chloe seemed very pleased by the thought. “Yum!” She wriggled her hips on the grass at the thought of it.
“I'm not joking. You're booked up for the next five nights. You're such a slut.” I spoke the last words with an amused roll of my eyes, because I did truly like Chloe.
And so we lay together on the grass enjoying the sunshine until Chloe eventually spoke again.
“I didn't just come here for lunch, Mistress.” She gazed up at the clear blue sky with barely any traces of clouds as she plucked some strands of grass and twisted them around her fingers. “You understand what I mean?”
“Oh.” I had of course forgotten what day it was. I had been so busy of late, maintaining things in Brinn's absence, and the days had rolled by in something of a blur. But as soon as Chloe said that, I knew today was one of the days I was supposed to report to the physician's building for a check up. It was one of the things Chloe had been tasked with – ensuring I turned up on time as required. It was actually quite embarrassing, because Brinn had made it quite clear to Chloe that there would be no exceptions that slave-girls would be taken to the physician's building at the end of a leash.
“This isn't right – I'm supposed to be the First Girl,” I'd said the first afternoon Chloe had come to collect me for my medical appointment with a leash in her hands. Now as then, Chloe followed Brinn's orders to the letter.
“Kneel please, Mistress,” she said as she uncoiled a leash from the belt of her tunic.
I sighed, slipped the slave tunic back over my body, tugged it down about as far as it would go, and knelt before Chloe as she stood up. I felt the clasp of the leash close shut around the ring that dangled from my collar, and I saw Chloe wrap the free end of the leather leash about her wrist.
“Brinn only insists on this to prove some ridiculous point,” I said as I shook my head in irritation. “he's so infuriatingly stubborn sometimes...”
Chloe just giggled as she looked down at me.
“You love this, don't you?” I said as I gazed up at her.
“I really don't know what you mean, Mistress,” said Chloe as she gave the leash a light tug, just enough to tell me I was to stand up now.
And so for the second time this week I had to put up with Chloe leading me at the end of a leash through the gardens and grounds of the estate, past all the other slaves who pretended not to notice.
“It's a lovely day for a walk, isn't it Mistress,” said Chloe, bubbling with innocence as always.
“Shut up. Just remember what I said about assigning toilet duties for tomorrow... “
“Emma, Chloe, come in, I'll be with you in a few minutes.” Simon was sitting at a bench, gazing into a microscope as we strolled into his work rooms. The last five years had seen quite the change in the geeky, shy, awkward man that I had met inside Golden Klaw. Five years living on Brinn's estate had built solid muscles across his legs, arms and chest. His once floppy hair was now grown long and outwardly he resembled a Gorean man, dressed in a sleeveless tunic and sandals. With an absence of computers on Gor, Simon had retrained as a physician, seeming to have a natural talent for Gorean medicine and within three years had learned enough to begin practising on Brinn's estate. That he was also the chief administrator of Brinn's affairs, spoke highly of his competency. Brinn liked and trusted Simon, and the feeling I think was mutual. As First Girl I ran many of the more mundane aspects of the Household, especially in regard to the slaves, and so I tended to see a lot of Simon. At least twice a week we would meet to compare notes and discuss any situations or problems that might have arisen. He was a man and so I was supposed to call him Master and kneel before him in Nadu, but I could see that he had never quite lost his Earth man mentality, for he still found aspects of my submission awkward as far as he was concerned.
To a certain extent I had been his first sexual experience, though one that was interrupted before either of us had been brought to climax, and I think that had left an indelible mark on him. He had by now accepted in principle the reality of slavey on Gor, but I think in his mind he still thought of it differently when it came to Earth women over Gorean women. He had, to my knowledge, never had the use of a slave-girl who had been abducted from Earth. And even with the Gorean women who were occasionally summoned to his couch, the reports were he treated them kindly, almost apologetically, apparently even telling them they didn't have to sleep with him if they didn't wish to.
As if any slave-girl in Brinn's household would dare say no to him!
Simon might not punish the girl for such a hypothetical rejection, but if word got back to Brinn, and it almost certainly would do, he would have had the girl in question whipped and sold cheaply in some back street market for her impudence.
Not that it was likely a girl would want to say no to Simon anyway. With his long hair and his muscles, he looked rather handsome, and quite obviously any girl who became his favourite would enjoy an easy life of comparative comfort. As First Girl I was only too aware how much competition there was in the household for girls trying to catch his eye and flirt with him. Sex with one of the guardsmen might be more fulfilling, in a purely submissive and primal way, but Simon was powerful within Brinn's household, and to be known to be one of his girls meant a lot.
Simon had never asked Brinn for my use. I could tell that he liked me, and more than that, he wanted me. Sometimes he grew awkward around me, especially if we were intimately close, or it was late at night and I came to him with some household problem that required his input, and then I would kneel beside him by candlelight, my skin illuminated by the warm glow of the flames. Once when I touched him on the thigh he almost jumped out of his skin. It was the sort of thing a slave-girl does when she knows a Master well. It is a calculated move in conjunction with other things such as her poise, the turning of her head, the licking of her lips, and so on, all of which can drive a man to distraction, for we are very sexual creatures and this sort of thing is second nature to us. I find it hard after all these years of living in a collar to turn such things off. My every move is sexual, or at least enticingly so.
Thinking back now, after all that has happened, perhaps there may also have been an element of embarrassment on Simon's part, for I of course had seen him at his most sexually inexperienced, that night in Golden Klaw when I had led him by the hand to the bedroom on Brinn's instructions, and I had undressed him, laid him on his back, and brought him to an erection. I had seen him nervous, unsure what to do with a woman, and I had effectively guided him to the point where he penetrated me. Perhaps now he was ashamed of having been like that, and seeing me reminded him on occasions of that fact.
Not that I ever spoke of such a thing to anyone, except of course to my close confidantes such as Chloe. For know one thing, if you are a man of Gor, slave-girls always, but always gossip about you in private. That's just what we do.
Every little detail.
Oh, does that make you just a little bit uncomfortable, knowing that in private we rate you all for stamina, dominance, size and so on? Well, we're only human.
“You may as well get on the table while I'm finishing off on some blood samples, Emma,” said Simon as he glanced round a second time. “You know the drill by now. Chloe, see to the bracelets.”
And indeed I did. The main feature of the room was a medical table, especially designed for slaves. I sat on the edge, swung my legs up and lay down on my back as Chloe unclipped the leash from my collar, and moved round towards the head rest where I heard the jingle of light chains as she lifted the first of the slave bracelets.
“Right wrist, Mistress,” said Chloe as she opened the restraint. I am right handed and so the convention on Gor is to chain my right wrist first. It makes sense when you consider that such a choice affords the maximum possible security from the very beginning. Had I been left handed then Chloe would have secured my left wrist first. It was the only time when I found myself having to take orders from her. I lifted my right wrist and felt Chloe close the steel about it, locking it shut with a universal key.
“Very good, Mistress, and now your left wrist.” I did as she instructed and felt my other hand secured above my head along with my first. Now Chloe adjusted the length of the chains, drawing my arms up past my head and securing them with just a few inches of movement available to me.
I bit my lower lip and felt that sudden giddiness and arousal that came from being secured in bondage before a man. It rarely failed to turn me on – the tightness of the restraint, the incredible feeling as I tried to pull helplessly at the chains. Chloe smiled as she gazed down at me. She knew only too well how I was feeling right now.
“Your right ankle, Mistress.” Now Chloe had move round to the other end of the medical table and she began to chain both my feet in place so that I would be spread eagled and open for examination by Simon. I could feel my breathing becoming more intense with each additional slave cuff and I felt the first stirrings in my slave belly. Chloe finished off by drawing the hem of my slave tunic up above my hips, exposing the hinged chastity belt that was securely locked around my sex. It was torture being put in this erotically charged position, knowing full well that no one would take advantage of me like this.
I heard Simon wash his hands and approach me with a key and a tray of salves and sponges.
“How have you been these last few days, Emma? Any chaffing or abrasions?” He placed the tray down on a small ledge fitted on one side of the table.
“No. Just the constant frustration...” I sighed. I was feeling anxious now because I knew what I would be feeling once Simon unlocked the belt and began to wash and clean me.
“I expect you're looking forward and counting the days until Brinn comes home,” said Simon with a knowing smile.
God, yes, I thought as I pulled slightly at my wrist chains. “Yes, Master. This isn't easy for me.”
And then, as he did on a regular basis while Brinn was away, Simon unlocked my belt and set about cleaning me. I gasped at the first touch of the warm sponge to my inner thighs and vaginal lips, much to Chloe's amusement. I couldn't help myself, you understand. I am a very sexually charged woman and I had been left unsatisfied for several weeks now. There were soft whimpers as Simon continued to wash and clean me, and I felt my nipples swell under the thin fabric of the slave tunic. I opened and closed my fingers and pulled again at the chain restraints which of course only served to make me feel even more aroused. There was no point in trying to beg Simon for sex – he was totally loyal to Brinn and wouldn't dream of taking advantage of me in this state, against Brinn's wishes. It was so frustrating!
And then I was left to dry in the warm Sardar air before Brinn would locked the belt around my sex again.
“The belt is a good fit,” said Simon as he began to wash his hands. “It makes all the difference – that and regular maintenance and cleaning.”
“I hate wearing it,” I said as I lay there on the examination table.
“I can tell,” said Simon as he smiled to himself. “Poor Emma. How do you feel about having some more children?”
“I don't know...” It was true, I was conflicted on the idea. I loved Marik and Jacinta of course, but I didn't know whether I could go through with another pregnancy and nurturing of more young lives. Of course I had no choice whether I would go through with it or not, but what I meant was I didn't know whether it was something I wanted. “It annoys me that I have no choice in the matter.”
“I take it Brinn wants more sons?”
“Yes. Though that's hardly guaranteed.” I knew that Brinn loved Jacinta dearly, and she was precious to him beyond any price, but I also knew that deep down he would have loved to have had two sons, not one. The Gorean male typically wants several strong sons to continue his line with honour and pride. Daughters are all well and good, but a Gorean house cannot be defended by daughters.
“Bearing Brinn's children gives you a very high status amongst the household slaves, Emma.”
“I know.” It took me far beyond the position of First Girl. Even Brinn's men at arms gave me a certain level of respect knowing I was the mother of Marik and Jacinta. Sometimes that was annoying, because it meant for example that they wouldn't make use of me without first broaching the subject carefully with Brinn. The number of times I had seen one of Brinn's men take and use Chloe in the gardens while I was with her, and the other men would simply leave me be, for fear of disrespecting Brinn. And then I'd see the silky ravished look on Chloe's face afterwards, and I'd feel all twisted up and frustrated inside. Sometimes I didn't want Brinn's strong warriors to be cautious around me. Sometimes I wished I would be seized by the wrist as I walked by in the gardens, thrown onto my back, my slave tunic pulled up above my hips, and fucked hard in the warm sunshine.
“Chloe, take a look in the small cedar wood box over on the left while you're waiting,” said Simon as he dusted my skin with a soft talc now that it was mostly dry. I couldn't see what was in the box as she opened it, but there was a little squeal of delight that piqued my curiosity. “You can take one if you like,” added Simon.
“Mmm, thank you, Master,” said Chloe as she picked something out of the box and held it beside her lips for a moment, just long enough for me to catch a glimpse before she popped it into her mouth.
“Is that Baklava!” I squealed. “I love Baklava!”
Everyone on the estate knew how much Emma loved Baklava. It was a running joke between all the men who knew I'd dance for them if they offered me a piece of the sweet pastry made of layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together with syrup and honey. I'd first eaten Baklava in the Tahari and developed a real taste for it.
“Oh, do you like Baklava, Emma?” said Simon with an innocent expression.
“You know I do!” I howled as I watched Chloe lick her fingers clean with a cheeky smile.
“Chloe, give Emma a piece of Baklava,” said Simon as he couldn't keep himself from laughing. Chloe picked out another piece and held it in front of me, inches from my mouth. She was going to make me reach up for it with my teeth while my hands were bound. But as I reached for it she of course moved it away just out of reach.
“Someone's acting like she wants the toilet cleaning chores this afternoon,” I said to Chloe with an irritated expression which prompted her to quickly place the Baklava against my lips. I gave her a satisfied smug look and took the delicious treat in my mouth and savoured it for as long as I could make it last.
How little I understood then that my near perfect idyll was about to change and my life was to suddenly, without warning, become a nightmare again. I felt safe in the knowledge that Brinn would be home soon from his mission in Port Kar, for Brinn had always returned from his many missions for the Priest Kings. And yes, at the back of my mind was the constant worry that my happiness, security and well being depended very much on his continued survival. For I was a slave, a piece of property, part of his estate in the event of his sudden death.
I had voiced my concerns one night when I lay in his bed, five months pregnant, after he had taken me carefully from behind.
“What would happen to me if you died, Master?”
And it seemed that Brinn had not truly considered the question, for he had no immediate response. “Your ownership would pass to my next of kin, I suppose,” he said after a while. “That is how it is in Gorean law.”
His next of kin. On Earth I would have been his next of kin, and I would have inherited his wealth, his lands, and his estate if he ever came back on his shield, rather than carrying it, but here on Gor I was capable of owning nothing.
“That would be Cassandra, Master?” I rested my head on his chest and closed my eyes, secretly scared of the possibility.
“My sister, the Lady Cassandra, yes. She would own you if I died.”
“She doesn't like me, Master.” I knew this to be true. Aside from the fact that she was a Gorean Free Woman, which in itself meant there would never be any love lost between her and a slave-girl, she resented the level of affection Brinn showed towards me. Cassandra did not approve of her brother falling in love with a single slave-girl. I think she would have preferred it if Brinn had maintained a coffle of slaves that he used as he saw fit, occasionally selling those who had been in his collar for too long, and replacing them with new girls. The permanency of our relationship offended her opinion of how a man should treat slaves. And then when Brinn declared I was going to be the mother of his children... well, that was a single step too far. Cassandra flew into a rage, or so I had heard, at the thought that my children would form a family tie of sorts between her and me. From that day on she looked at me with barely concealed hatred.
“You're a slave, Emma, and she's a Free Woman. You can hardly expect her to be friends with you. You've lived on Gor long enough to know the nature of the relationship between Free Women and slaves.”
Cassandra's fortunes had risen high alongside those of her brother's. As wealth and power flowed towards Brinn, it was natural enough that his family House would benefit too, and over the years Cassandra had enjoyed the fruits of Brinn's new found status. I understood she was wealthy, with her own estates south of the Sardar mountains, close to Vonda, and her own body of Household warriors that flew her banners – a design that incorporated Brinn's own sigil of a Tarn talon in one corner of the flag. Her voice carried a certain authority in the region of Vonda where she was said to have influence on the council chambers that advised their Ubar. All this of course was thanks to the reputation of her brother, and the irony was the benefits ultimately derived from the actions of Rachel, Erin and myself all those years ago on the banks of Lake Siljan. Brinn knew this, but Cassandra didn't.
“But she really despises me, Master, more so than any other slave. She scares me.”
Brinn laughed at that. He didn't seem to recognise what I saw in her expression, and what I heard in her acidic put downs of me, and the way she found fault in everything I did.
“Of course she scares you, Emma. She's a Free Woman. You should be scared of her. I think you sometimes assume too much from the fact that I care for you. You are a collared slave, and it is not enough that you are simply pleasing to me. You should be reminded of your duty to be pleasing to my sister too, especially if you fear the possibility of my death, for then you would pass on to her collar. Cassandra doesn't share my sense of humour when it comes to many of your eccentricities. You amuse me at times Emma when you protest or argue or pout in one of your regular moods, but Cassandra would not find such things amusing. If you believe she doesn't like you, then I can only suggest you go out of your way to try and impress her in future. I think you perhaps convey the appearance at times on this estate of having authority over and above that of First Girl. If she resents anything, it is likely that.”
It is worth mentioning perhaps that I had never seen Cassandra's bare face, and could only speculate wildly what she looked like. On Gor a Free Woman is always veiled in public, and even when Cassandra dined, she did so wearing light veils, preferring to lift the gossamer fabric slightly with her left hand as she placed delicate morsels into her mouth. I knew she was slim waisted, and on Earth would take a size 8 dress; she was maybe 5 feet 5 inches tall, and I could sometimes see her chestnut hair beneath the light hood of her gown; hair that her personal slave maidens would softly curl with heated tongs into loose ringlet waves. Her eyes were light blue, but other than that her features were always hidden to me, and I could not conjecture whether she was pretty or plain. Were I to see her stripped naked, I could not expect to realistically recognise her.
“My life in her collar would be terrible, Master.”
“Your life in her collar would be the life of a slave-girl, Emma. No more, no less. I think you forget the realities endured by most slaves on Gor, now that you live in relative comfort on my estate as my preferred girl. But in any event, I have no plans to die in the foreseeable future.”
The first time I met Cassandra was in the Sardar mountains themselves, before Brinn's estate had been built. We had been the guests of the Priest Kings, though to this day I have never actually seen one of the creatures – the secret rulers of Gor – and we had been housed in a villa that overlooked the slopes of one of the southern ranges. Cassandra had travelled from her home in Lara to join her brother and to witness some of the ceremonial honours that were being bestowed upon him. She looked radiant and beautiful in lush gowns of spun silver and gold, a display designed to emphasise and complement Brinn's own status. Brinn and Cassandra had dined together that first night with selected guests seated nearby in a vast hall bedecked with enormous couches swathed in rich furs and pelts from Schendi. Nine slave girls were in attendance to wait on the brother and sister and their friends, all tastefully dressed in modest slave tunics with low hem lines and high necks for Cassandra's benefit, but I was given the duty of serving drinks beside their low table. I however was not modestly dressed, for Brinn wished to show off the beauty of his High Slave to his sister – a miscalculation that I think precipitated Cassandra's dislike of me. I was dressed in a brief slave tunic of rich fabric with a gem studded collar. Precious bracelets and anklets were locked about my wrists and ankles, and I wore a loose sirik chain of pure gold. Three slave girls had spent several hours on my make-up, and my hair had been brushed until it shone like liquid gold. I was more beautiful than I had ever been before as I knelt there with kohl-laden eyes, the very image of a smouldering pleasure slave. Brinn had meant to impress Cassandra with his choice of woman, but it had had the opposite effect. I do not think men truly appreciate how threatened Free Women are by beautiful slaves. Maybe because Cassandra was his sister, he assumed she would not see me as any form of competition, for obviously enough she had no sexual feelings towards her own kin, but that itself is irrelevant. When Cassandra saw me displayed at Brinn's feet, she saw a slave-girl that she knew might drive men wild, and Free Women do not appreciate being reminded of the power that slaves have over men.
She contrived, quite artfully, when Brinn happened to look away for a moment, to make me spill wine as I was serving, and spill it on the hem of her own white and gold gown. I knew what she had done, but even so, I humbly begged her forgiveness. Brinn I think was surprised and the look he gave me was one of annoyance for I had apparently been clumsy and spoilt the image he wished to present of me as the perfect slave-girl.
“What is this girl's name?” Cassandra had asked as she rose slowly to her feet. She knew perfectly well what my name was of course, but she acted as if I was just one of the ordinary household slaves in attendance that night.
“This is Emma,” said Brinn as he sniffed and gave me a look as if to say, 'how could you spill wine on my sister, and tonight of all nights!'
And then Cassandra looked down at me with a bitter and cold gaze. She clicked her fingers and I abased myself, pressing my face to the tiles. She said nothing for a moment, as if to prolong the tension in the room, but then she said, “crawl to the whip rack, Emma, and bring me one of the whips with your teeth.”
The feasting chamber was suddenly deathly quiet as it dawned on everyone there that Cassandra was going to have me beaten.
Brinn moved on his couch as if he was about to say something to mitigate my actions, but before he could, Cassandra said, “She will be beaten as I would beat any girl in my own house who spilled wine on my gown. Unless you are now in the habit of siding with slave-girls, brother?” She gazed at Brinn with the sort of look that dared him to object.
I could see Brinn wasn't particularly happy about this turn of events, but as far as he could tell I had indeed been clumsy. So, to my dismay he simply nodded and acceded to Cassandra's right to discipline me. With the other slaves watching, I crawled in silence to the rack and picked up one of the multi bladed leather whips and carried it back to Cassandra's feet between my teeth. She made me wait a while, kneeling there before her, as she finished her goblet of wine. Then, clicking her fingers again, she summoned one of the slave girls to tear my pretty tunic away from my body. I was made to kneel in the sirik chains in whipping position as she lashed me six times. I screamed in pain and wept, which meant she added two more strokes to the punishment. When she was through, she kicked me to my side with a push from one of her slippered feet and told me to lie still and not move or speak out as she finished dining and conversing with her brother.
That night I did not sleep in Brinn's great bed. Instead I was chained by the neck to a slave ring in the kitchens where I spent the night with the other serving girls. Brinn it seemed blamed me for ruining the evening. When I told him the next day that that Cassandra had made me spill the wine, he grew angry and told me never to say something like that again.
“You are a slave, Emma. A slave does not blame a Mistress or a Master for something that happens.”
“But that's not fair!” I cried.
“It is the way it is,” said Brinn. “You should know that.” And then that afternoon he made me abase myself before Cassandra and beg her forgiveness for my clumsiness the night before. I was made to kiss her slippers and ask her to beat me again if I ever proved disappointing in future.
“Oh I will, little Emma. Have no fear of that,” she said with a smile.
It was late afternoon when we first heard the sounds. Simon had locked the belt around my sex again and dismissed both Chloe and myself with a wave of his hand. We had walked back into the gardens, gossiping in general, and then we heard the commotion drifting over from the villa, from further away at the main gate. A horn was being sounded and it was a specific horn that announced to the household that someone important was arriving. I glanced up looking puzzled. We certainly weren't expecting visitors in Brinn's absence. Chloe gazed at me with curiosity, but I quickly shook my head and pre-empted her question by saying, "I have no idea. Come on, let's take a look."
We got to our feet and fast walked towards the gate, swung it open and walked on through the main grounds, past the sprawling villa where to the other side we could see Brinn's vineyard where his male slaves were tending to the vines under the watchful gaze of whip carrying overseers, and up on to the hillside that afforded us a clear view of the paved road that led across the Sardar grounds to the gates of the estate. There we could see a long procession of maybe a hundred or so House Warriors flying the banners of Lady Cassandra. Accompanying the armed warriors was a sizeable baggage train, a long coffle of slaves and an enormous palanquin with a richly embroidered sun shade carried by twelve strong male slaves who were chained to the poles. Seated on the palanquin was a richly veiled Free Woman who I knew could only be Lady Cassandra.
"This isn't good," I said with a hint of despair in my voice. "We really don't want to play host to her while Brinn's away."
"Doesn't she know the Master is in Port Kar?" Asked Chloe, equally unhappy to identify the House banners that proclaimed the Lady's identity. "And look at all the slaves and luggage she has with her! It's like she's planning on moving in!"
"We really don't want that. She really doesn't like me. And that's an understatement." Generally speaking Brinn spared me from the worst that the woman might do on the rare occasion she visited by allowing me to hide myself away as much as possible, often ensuring I was assigned to duties elsewhere during her stay, but with Brinn currently absent in Port Kar for another couple of weeks, there was nowhere really I could hide. I would be expected to assemble the household slaves in a line for inspection and to greet her arrival. No doubt the bitch would take her time to find fault with some of the girls and instruct me to have them whipped. First Girl I might be, but there was nothing I could do to spare anyone from such an order.
“This really isn't good,” I said as I gripped Chloe's hand for mutual reassurance.