“Please sister, will you bring up the food and wine from the courtyard in a bit? I think I'm going to need to refresh myself," you say as you tighten your grip on Michelle's leash once more.
“Yes, Rosalita.” Rosanna glances at Michelle and then back at you with a respectful nod of her head, for social customs dictates that she acknowledges your authority as head of the family. She takes a couple of steps towards the courtyard but dawdles as best she can without being too obvious in doing so, for she is interested in seeing what you intend doing next. Your sister is even more curious than the average kajira, and the average kajira of course is a very curious animal indeed.
This comes as no surprise to you, for your sister is something of an open book when it comes to her motivations and behaviours.
Giving a tug on the collar leash, you proceed to your private rooms, trailing Michelle behind you. She still has the whip between her teeth of course. The Earth girl seems distraught by all of this, but that is as nothing compared to how she will feel shortly. Once inside, you shut the door closed and you then remove the whip from Michelle's mouth and indicate a spot on the floor near a slave ring set at the foot of the couch.
"Kneel there and remove your tunic." It is spoken as a command, not a request. What you are about to do next is necessary for the girl's continued deception. She has been stupid, careless, and she may have endangered the secrecy of your work with the Kurii.
“I do not understand,” says Michelle as she swallows several times to get the bitter taste of the leather from her mouth.
“It is really quite simple. I gave you a command. Kneel there and remove your tunic. I am getting tired of having to repeat my commands.”
“This is getting out of hand! I did not agree to any of this! Rest assured that at the first opportunity I have I am going to report your behaviour to Isabel. She will be furious when she hears how you have treated me so far.” But she kneels and pulls her tunic from her body, for you hold a whip in your right hand and she is now feeling rather unsure of her position here. “Satisfied? This farce is ridiculous! But I am naked now, as you requested.” She throws the garment on to the ground.
“As I commanded,” you correct her. She really does have a lot to learn.
“Whatever!” Michelle sniffs and casts her eyes about the room. Her knees of course are tightly pressed together as she kneels. This is acceptable for she is kneeling in front of a Free Woman. She has a good figure, you think to yourself, but then she was probably selected with her figure in mind as one of her primary assets. She is the sort of girl who could potentially make for a fine investment as she would be cheap due to her lack of training, but with training her value would increase considerably. If she were sold now to a house such as the Circularium, you might get between fifteen to twenty five copper tarsks for her, on account of her beauty, but with training the potential in investment could be considerable.
“Please can we talk about this?” Michelle says as she lifts her arms self consciously and crosses them in front of her body, touching her shoulders with each hand in modesty. She has done so without permission, but then she is still new to life on Gor and doesn't truly understand what is required of her now.
You say nothing as you produce a pair of slave bracelets and lock one of the cuffs to her right wrist. You then draw the chain through the slave ring and lock the other cuff to her left wrist. Her wrists are now closely confined in front of her to the slave ring at the foot of the couch. She cannot rise from her kneeling position.
“How dare you!” Michelle struggles against the chains, pulling hard, but achieving nothing in the process. She tries again, and you allow her this ridiculous moment for she needs to know that women cannot free themselves from slave steel. Eventually she subsides, her wrists still confined to the slave ring, her body still bent over into kneeling position her naked back still exposed to you.
Bending down, you brush her hair away from her shoulders to fully expose her back and you whisper in her ear. "It is necessary to whip you now. Firstly, my sister will expect it for your earlier behaviour and secondly, it will help you better understand the role you are in. She will almost certainly be listening, at least to the first few strokes, after which she'll return to the courtyard to fetch what I asked."
“Are you insane? You can't whip me! You can't possibly mean to whip me!” Now she begins struggling again, more frantic than before, trying to wrestle the chain free from the ring, and to try to rise from what she now understands is a basic whipping position. Behind her you shake the strands of the whip loose.
“Please... I understand what I did wrong. I understand it now! There is no need to whip me! It serves no purpose. I understand perfectly. You have made your point clearly and concisely!” She tries to look round but as she twists her body to view you, you simply move a step or two to remain out of sight. That has an unnerving effect on a girl who is about to be whipped. “Please, let us talk about this. We can talk about this like civilised people. Obviously I was wrong. I understand that. I made a mistake. I didn't think. I have learnt my lesson. You can put away the whip! Please, will you just say something?”
And so you do. You stand directly behind her and in a louder voice for Rosanna to hear (because you know your sister well enough – she will not have immediately gone to the courtyard – she will be on the other side of the door, eagerly listening with her ear pressed to the wood) "Your behaviour earlier was outrageous for that of a slave, so you're going to be punished. You will receive ten strokes and if your attitude doesn't improve, there will be further punishments."
“Ten strokes?! No, no...” There is absolute fear in her voice and her body is already trembling. Again she struggles helplessly against her chains, hoping perhaps that her inability to free herself at first was an anomaly that further attempts might rectify. Now she begins to understand that she is completely helpless, that her will means nothing within your bed chamber, and that she will perhaps feel the whip as if she were an actual slave who had displeased her Mistress. Finally, she holds herself still except for her shaking chained hands at the slave ring. It is almost as if she thinks she can withstand the whip after all. “I will not give you the satisfaction of crying out!” she says. “I am of Earth!”
It will be good for her, you think, as you shake loose the blades of the slave whip and move behind her. Better she feels the whip now and understands what can be done to her by Gorean men and women, then she learns a much harder lesson at someone else's hands.
The first stroke impacts her upper back. Michelle's sudden scream rips through the room as she jerks hard against the manacles, howling in pain. Her eyes are wide in shock from this first blow. What had she expected? Not this, obviously. You can imagine your sister smiling and nodding to herself from the other side of the door, listening to the first blow land and the slave-like scream that accompanied it.
“Oh God, no... no...” Michelle understands now what the Gorean slave whip can do to a woman. “Mercy! Mercy! I beg you, Mistress! I've learnt my lesson! No more, Mistress! Please... Mistress...no more...”
It is interesting how the word Mistress now comes unbidden from her lips. It is a response that may save her life in future. You recall a conversation with your Father after he had punished a slave many years ago and you had enquired about his method.
"You should leave a gap between each stroke so the slave can better feel them, Rosalita,” your father had explained, happy to tutor you in the art of slave handling, for it is a skill that High Born Gorean Free Women should master. “You also vary the timing so they can't anticipate when the whip will fall," he had added. With that in mind, you administer the next two blows. Michelle's next screams are as loud as her first, and you watch as she loses all control of her reactions, writhing and howling from the pain.
“Very good,” you bend down and whisper softly in her ear. "That is a very realistic response for a slave-girl. Keep reacting as you have.”
The next seven strikes impact not Michelle, but the couch to either side of her. It is not your intention after all to truly punish her as a slave, but she did need this reminder of the reality of her position within this household and the city itself. The look of relief on Michelle's tear stained face as she begins to understand that her ordeal is over is absolute, and fearing that the blows might return for real if she does not play along, she screams out as each lash strikes your soft couch. Only three blows have actually touched her, but you can already see the criss-cross markings of the five stranded whip against her soft skin – the red welts that will last a few days before fading completely.
As you expected, there is a knock on the far side of the door – your sister will have been satisfied with what she heard and she no doubt has your refreshments now.
“You may enter, Rosanna,” You say, as you pause from the tenth stroke that hit the couch. As you see the door handle begin to turn you whisper to your helpless slave again and say, to her horror, "You will receive one more stroke, to remind you that you are a slave."
With that, you strike again against her back, putting as much strength into the blow as you can manage. It is the most powerful blow you are capable of, and it takes Michelle completely by surprise. Her body goes rigid against the chains; she screams louder than ever before, and she collapses crying piteously on the tiles as Rosanna enters the room, her eyes sparkling with delight at the sight of the haughty women who had dared to wear your gowns and drink your wine. Rosanna places the tray on a side table, her expression one of delight as she takes in the sight of the whipped slave.
The tray contains a crystal flask of wine, some sliced fruit, a tray of delicately cooked spiced meats and a freshly baked sa-tarna bread stick cut into small pieces. Rosanna is a very good cook and the presentation of the food on the plate is first class – your father saw to it that she was schooled in all the arts of house keeping that a Free Woman might need to please a Free Companion at some later stage in her life. Rosanna has dispensed with her veil as she knows that no one is in the house except for you and Michelle. Should there be a knock on the front door of course you would expect her to hurry to her rooms and quickly veil herself accordingly so as not to disgrace herself or her family name.
"Thank you sister. This slave will serve our evening meal, but I believe you will have to finish preparing it." You wonder whether Michelle is much of a cook. From what little you know of Earth you understand the women there have many mechanised labour saving devices that make food preparation simple. Here in Telnus the girl will have to learn to prepare food on a coal and wood fired stove. It will be harder for her, but of course the threat of the whip is a powerful inducement to learn.
Rosanna nods, offers you a respectful curtsey, and returns to the kitchen, but not before casting another lingering gaze at the trembling, well punished slave who lies close to your feet. She seems very pleased with the way things have turned out.
In the privacy of your personal chambers you remove your cumbersome and stifling veils and also your outer robes. It feels good to wear just the looser, lighter garments without the stiff brocades and multiple layers of concealment. It is fiddly and time consuming to undress, but simpler than dressing in the first place. Your hair is worn up in a complex arrangement wrapped about a filigree wire frame that adds several inches to your height from the upswept arrangement at the back of your head. It takes you at least half an hour each morning to arrange correctly in front of a mirror, but such formal hair styles are currently favoured by high caste women in Telnus. It signifies your high status in public as much as the richness of your garments does. Rosanna is not yet old enough to arrange her hair in such a way. Not until she has visited the Sardar mountains on pilgrimage and received the honour of returning to kiss the Home Stone of Telnus, bringing back with her a handful of Sardar mountain dust, can she then be treated as a fully grown woman. Only then will she be stabilised and permitted to carry herself as a woman of maturity in public. Until then she is essentially your ward, and subject to your authority. You control the family assets inherited from your father, and Rosanna lives on your generosity in turn.
As you hang the outer gowns from wooden pegs you speak to the Earth born slave. "I hope you now have a better idea about your condition, girl?” (*)
There is a stirring of chain as Michelle lies there on the tiles, too much in shock to kneel back up on her heels. She clutches the slave ring with her fingers as she lies on her side, her back and ass marked clearly with twenty broad stripes of the whip from four individual blows. It is clear which marks belong to the fourth most savage blow that landed last. “Yes, Mistress. Please do not whip me again. I fear the whip!”
“Of course you do. You were foolish to think otherwise before. I will tell my sister that you're not actually ours, but on loan from the Circularium who are experimenting with barbarian slaves to see if they can be trained to be suitable to be slaves to a Free Woman. As such, you will have to be absent from the house at certain times, ostensibly to report back to them."
“For my mission...” she lifts her eyes to look up at you, no doubt hoping beyond hope that the mission can be concluded quickly now so that she can return to her free status and receive her body weight in silver as a reward.
“For the mission, yes. I'll also reassure my sister that we will be getting a properly trained slave, though perhaps not immediately."
“Not... immediately...” Michelle looks so small and helpless now. “But then how long must I...”
“I do not have details of your mission yet. It may be that you may have to play this role for a while. It is possible that your role, your pretence as a slave may not conclude immediately upon the success of your mission. Slaves do not simply disappear without explanation. It might be considered suspicious if you did. We shall see. You will be notified when the time comes. Until then, there is a saying on Gor, curiosity is not becoming in a kajira. You might be beaten for it. “
“But... I need to know... how long... days? Weeks?”
You dismiss the question with your hand. “Do not ask that question again, girl. You will be notified when the time comes. That is all.”
That evening you dine with your sister, kneeling at a low table, surrounded by soft cushions. It is perhaps the last meal Rosanna will prepare for a while, now that you have a slave in the house. The vulo is cooked to perfection and dressed beautifully with an exquisite side salad and array of home made sauces. Rosanna has been taught well over the years and will make some man a perfect Free Companion when the time comes.
Michelle kneels in serving position close to the table, her stomach no doubt churning a little from hunger as apart from a few pieces of finger food that she ate without permission before you arrived, she has not eaten since midday yesterday. The men who had prepared her and brought her to your house had not seen fit to give her any food.
The evening meal is an opportunity each night for Rosanna to update you on your affairs for she looks after your paperwork – she can read and write as fluently perhaps as a scribe.
“An invitation has arrived from Isabel for you to attend her themed party in three days time,” explains Rosanna as she nibbles delicately at a strip of spiced vulo. She refers of course to the Kajuralia party that Isabel pretty much cajoled you into saying yes to. Rosanna has no idea of the nature of the party – how daring it will be, with half the women drawing stones marked with the letter 'k' signifying that they will spend the evening serving the other women as if they might actually be house slaves. There would be no men in attendance, but even so it is a very audacious theme, even for Kajuralia. From what Isabel had said, the two of you would be paired off, meaning that either you or Isabel would end up wearing the house tunic of one of the Saffini slaves during the party. There is perhaps a flutter of nerves in your stomach at the thought that it might well be you. “Are you listening, sister?” Rosanna's voice cuts through your thoughts without warning. “You seem rather distant tonight?”
“It is nothing,” you say quickly, banishing thoughts of a slave tunic and... but no, surely the costume for the party would not go so far as to include a steel collar for the night? Even Isabel would not be quite so bold.
Rosanna nods, oblivious to what you are now thinking. She holds her cup towards Michelle who meekly lowers her head and refills it with an inch or two of wine.
“I suppose we should have the slave clean out one of the empty kennels in the cellar?” asks Rosanna as she sips her wine thoughtfully. There are three such kennel cages in the cellar, none of which have been used for many years since your father's death. Each kennel is perhaps six feet long by four feet wide and four feet tall, and can comfortably sleep a single girl, though there is not space for her to stand. Depending on your requirements a girl can be given bedding, anything from sack cloth and straw to blankets or, if she has not been pleasing, be made to sleep on the hard surface of the cement floor instead. After a single night sleeping on a cement floor, a girl soon learns to beg sack cloth and blankets for the following night. “Unless you wish her to sleep in the house itself?” Rosanna waits for your decision. “There is a slave ring in the kitchen. And slave rings in our bedrooms, though I do not want the slut sleeping in my rooms.” Rosanna glances at the girl again and frowns, seeing how pretty she is. “I think we should keep her out of sight if men visit.”
Rosanna sorts through some papers that she has been studying in advance of dinner. “And then you also have some papers inviting you to tender for construction work on strengthening the harbour walls on the east side of the port. Telnus is to be reinforced now that Port Kar has been making aggressive noises again on the Thassa. It is unthinkable of course that Kar could even consider threatening Telnus with its ships, but the harbour masters in charge of the defences are erring on the side of paranoia now. I have looked at the numbers involved and there is likely to be good profit in bidding on the contract, so if they wish to waste their money, who are we not to take it?”
You nod again, finding it hard to move your thoughts away from the upcoming party and the mission you will soon have to supervise for your Kurii Masters. Port Kar is no threat to Telnus. The city is not capable of attacking the Cosian coast line, let alone one of its cities, but as Rosanna says, someone stands to profit from the military contracts, so why not you?
You glance at the slave-girl, Michelle, and wonder what part she has to play in the schemes of the Kurii? If only you had some idea what the mission might entail, and why exactly it might require an agent to pose as a slave. But Isabel had been tight lipped about the whole thing. She had suggested you would know in a few days time, and that seemed to coincide with Kajuralia. Perhaps she intends briefing you at the party itself?
“Oh, and a letter arrived from Salvador Saffini. He requests a brief audience with you at his plantation estate where he is supervising for the next week or so.”
You nod, for Isabel had mentioned that Salvador, her father, would be away from Telnus for a few weeks. It is why she now had the run of the house to stage her Kajuralia themed party. “Did he say what he wants?”
“No, only that it is a matter of significance and one that is best discussed in person.” Rosanna checks the papers she had brought with her. “The estate is six hours away by carriage. Salvador offers you a personal honour guard of ten tharlarion riders for the journey to his plantation and back again. Oh, but that is wonderful! There will be banners and considerable ceremony as you ride from the city walls! You will be so noticed, Rosalita! Heads will turn! An escort of uniformed cavalry!” You can tell your sister is very impressed, and perhaps she dreams of having such an escort herself. High Caste men would certainly notice her and make enquiries who such an important lady might be. This is an impressive retinue and one that would get you noticed. For a high born Lady to ride out of the city with an escort of tharlarion cavalry speaks well for your status. “You could conceivably meet Salavdor and return before the party, if you wish?”
(*) Michelle accumulates 'slave break points' whenever she is treated as a slave. It is a way of measuring the gradual erosion of her will power to resist being treated as a kajira, and the break points are triggered by all manner of situations that enforce upon her a sense of bondage and enslavement. She previously accumulated a break point for each successful dice roll against her (2 points in total) and subjecting her to the whip just now has resulted in two more such points, giving her a total of 4 'slave' points now. These points are permanent (unless situations arise that reinforce her sense of identity as a Free Woman, removing one or more of the [points) and will count against the difficulty scores required to break her in the future. e.g. a difficulty score of 20 would now be 16 to reflect the 4 slave points she has accumulated to date. Also, as her total increases, she begins to act instinctively more slave-like without meaning to.
Examples of situations that accumulate slave break points would include:
Administering slave wine
Being stripped before free men or women
Earning a luxury (beads, perfume, rag to wear)
Earning a treat
Reliant on her owner
Forced to dance
Forced to serve
Scorned/mistreated by the public
And so on.