tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Slave to the Servants Ch. 14

A Slave to the Servants Ch. 14

byDoctorWolf©

So, my proofreader made an impassioned plea for votes and IT WORKED. Steve150177 was right and you all placed the last chapter in SECOND PLACE on the Top List. We are both thrilled. It makes writing so much more fun when you know the readers are enjoying. Thank you to all who read and voted.

It goes without saying but THANK YOU to Steve150177 for his hard work reading and rereading. The finished product is much improved for the effort.

Let me know if you have any comments good, bad, or ugly.

English is in italics when it appears. A note: During dream sequences, I did not hold to this rule. It seemed to break them up too much.

Enjoy! DW


************************************

My men thought of every vile word they'd ever heard as I was pulled to stand. Damien stalked out front and I was quickly draped in my warm blue cover. My foot covers were put on my feet and we followed Damien.

Nu-reeh stood outside with a group of women I didn't recognize. If huge fanged beasts could look worried, these did. The women with Nu-reeh seemed anxious.

"Damien, you and your family are friendly with Rue and his family," Nu-reeh said.

It wasn't a question; it was a statement. Nu-reeh didn't wait for an answer and demanded we follow her.

My men couldn't figure out why Rue and his Brothers were a topic of conversation. We'd used them when it seemed they could help us keep Ciara, but we knew little about them otherwise. They'd acted dishonorably and we'd love the chance to punish them for that. Damien's family was certainly not "friendly" with Rue and his Brothers. Arguing with Nu-reeh was not wise, so we followed obediently, but confused.

We walked into a part of the caves I'd never been. It looked like another place the men stayed. Damien and his Brothers knew of this area. This was a place we never went. We had no close friends from this dormitory. Nu-reeh took us to the very back of it.

I was reminded of the room I'd originally found my men in. If this set of rooms was set up the same way, that's the part we were in.

"Fix it," Nu-reeh said pointing to the large flap covered doorway.

We did not understand. No one had any idea what was going on, but questioning Nu-reeh was a horrible idea.

"Yes, Mistress," we replied instead.

"They could not stand the stress of finding how the world runs," Nu-reeh fumed. "We thought you had told them. We were not gentle with them and now they are broken. You are friends. Fix them."

We stepped quietly through the leather flap and stood in the large room. It looked like the room I'd found my owners in. There were several slight differences. Chains with collars hung unused on the walls and all the torches were lit.

I recognized the men that were my fake Masters. They lay listlessly on pallets beside one another. They reeked and weren't moving.

Master Kein approached the men and waved a hand in front of their open eyes. The men on the pallets didn't seem to notice him. They just lay silently, staring straight ahead.

It wasn't safe to talk here, so the internal conversation took over. We weren't friends with these men. They had been useful, but we were angry at how they had used our Ciara. No one wanted to fix them.

"Nu-reeh said to," I said out loud and Master Damien placed a finger over my lips.

We didn't know how to fix their bond. Damien's family was not a family of Healers, we were Warriors. These men were not friends with us, we didn't know anything about them.

"I know them," I told Master Damien and he looked harshly at me, "and I know they need to be cleaned up."

Master Evan was irritated with my persistence. None of us knew how to fix someone else's bond. Had it been friends we would try, but these men were not friends.

"She said to," I argued out loud and Master Evan stared hard at me.

If I couldn't learn to agree, they had stronger ways to teach me, but I wouldn't let minor pain dissuade me. I was fairly certain Nu-reeh was capable of much worse. The men needed to be cleaned up. We could figure out how to fix them next.

Master Evan stalked up and got right in my face. "We do not know how to fix them," he whispered. "We cannot do it."

Resolve not to be punished by Nu-reeh steeled my faltering determination and I stepped closer to him. "I say we can."

We stood toe to toe staring at one another for several moments.

"Is it a wager?" Master Bane whispered, now we had his attention completely.

"I say Ciara wins," Christof said.

Master Kein took Master Evan's side as did Master Damien. Master Bane stood undecided for a moment looking between Master Evan and me. Master Bane loved an underdog, it was more interesting when they won the wager. He bet on me.

"They need clean pallets and we need to wash them," I insisted.

Fine, was the internal consent. We would do what I said, if only to prove how mistaken I was.

Master Evan went to find water and rags to clean them. Master Bane left to get fresh pallets. I stood staring at the five men in front of me. Master Evan silently gloated as I pondered how to help them. I wasn't sure how to do this.

My men had gotten better when I forced them to gather around me. They loved me and wanted to stay with me. I wondered what these men loved and would rally around.

Master Evan returned and we started to work. We stripped them of their ruined clothes and bathed them. Master Bane returned with fresh places to lay and we started to move them.

"Where is their transport?" I asked Master Damien as we washed the men.

He looked at me questioningly for a moment. "In the compound, probably. I imagine the women went and got them and carried them back."

They loved that transport almost more than they loved any of their other experiments. Anything they could do to make it faster and better was worth the investment. I was disappointed it wasn't here. They might have woken up to play with it.

An idea struck me as I cleaned them and I looked at Master Damien.

"Would the transports go faster if they were fueled by the ore?" I asked him.

He thought for a moment and told me he didn't know.

"It seemed they would," I said casually. "On Earth vehicles that ran on things like solar power ran slower."

Master Damien grumbled a response and rolled his man onto a new pallet.

"The ore the women mine must be very powerful," I continued. "What types of things does it power?"

"The portals and ships that travel in space," Christof said crouching at one man's feet and paused in cleaning him.

"So the women could travel off the planet?" I asked innocently. "You could travel off the planet, Masters?"

Master Evan was irritated with my questions. "Obviously, Ciara, we went to the slave auction to find you."

"You went in a portal, Master Evan. Why would you need ships then?" I asked.

"The portals cannot transport the ore," Christof explained. "It becomes unstable in the portals and explodes. Ships, except for short distance travel, exist almost exclusively to transport the ore."

I continued to ask questions about the ore, about the other worlds, and about creatures that might visit this planet. My men understood my idea, but they weren't sure it would work. In all fairness they played along with me, though.

We heard a noise at the door and we all turned to look. I almost did, but remembered the rules in time.

"They should eat, their Mistress said so," the man said setting a covered pot by the fire.

Master Damien was irritated as the man left. We were not Healers and this job was ridiculous. He didn't think we were making headway and the entire experience was annoying.

"How do the women sell the ore?" I asked continuing to pursue my plan.

Master Bane answered as Master Evan scooped the gruel into the bowl. "We've never been there but there is a place the women let the ships land to load the ore. The women carry it there. They have men that do the actual negotiations. Our women terrify most other races."

"Wow," I said, "you mean there are men that get to talk to creatures from other planets?"

"Yes, usually they use men that were Warriors, so they don't fear for their safety..." Master Bane trailed off and was staring at the men on the wall.

They were sitting up and watching us. I put my head down, unsure if I should be looking at them or not.

"I would say that is a pointless concern since you have been bathing them, Ciara," Master Damien said with a small smile.

"There are men that do the speaking with other races?" one of my fake Masters asked.

"Yes," Master Bane said, silently gloating since he was on the winning side.

"Do they travel to other places? Are we permitted to go other places? Could we see other planets?" one of them asked.

"We don't know," Master Damien answered surprised as my fake Masters started to look more and more animated.

"The other mountains, can we go to see the other mountains? Can we travel over the ocean?"

"Maybe, some of the women let their men travel between compounds, your Mistress may," Master Damien informed them.

My fake owners were coming out of it rapidly. Their curiosity was peaked and they wanted to know everything. Since their interest seemed to be helping them bond, Master Damien did as Nu-reeh asked and helped them.

Master Evan was irritated. He hated losing a bet, so this upset him greatly. Like a sullen teenager her stood off to the side watching Master Damien slowly coax the men out of their depression.

The disconcerting feeling from Master Evan radiated through me and it hurt. I felt off and strange. My thoughts had been in opposition to him all day. We both found it distressing.

It hadn't been intentional, but I had hurt him. He felt divided and distant. That was a feeling he hated.

I walked to him slowly. If I could just be near him, I knew I could make it better. I wasn't entirely sure he would allow me to touch him, though.

"Come," Master Evan grunted begrudgingly at me.

Master Evan held his arms out and I rushed to him. My breasts pressed against him and I held him. We were close, that was all that mattered.

I looked up at him and he stared down at me. Our lips met in a fierce kiss. Master Evan needed to dominate and I wanted to be subdued.

My hands buried themselves in the nape of his hair as he pulled me to his mouth. It was a messy, tongue intensive kiss. His mouth left mine to explore my chin, my jaw, and the curve of my ear.

"Is this what you do with a slave?" I heard Rue's brother ask incredulously. "You eat it?"

"That is not your concern," Master Damien said stiffly.

Master Evan straightened and I wrapped my arms around his waist. He held me and stroked my cheek as he spoke to the men.

"I believe what you did with our slave IS our concern, though."

Master Damien's conscious mind dove into mine and forcibly examined my life with these men. He had lived up to his side of their agreement, these men had not. My Masters wanted to exact the price of their failure in blood.

"She said fix them," I whispered against Master Evan's chest.

We could destroy these men again easily, but it would be in direct violation of Nu-reeh's order.

"You are still owed punishment from us," Master Damien said to the men while turning toward Master Evan and me.

Walking over he placed a hand on Master Evan's shoulder and a hand on mine. We were together and we were fine. Punishing these men may cause the family to be separated again, none of us wanted that.

The clattering of the talons alerted us to the presence of the women. We heard their voices outside the room. The five men we had been responsible for healing stood quickly.

"What do we do?" I heard one of them ask.

"Whatever the women want," Master Kein quietly instructed them. "Keep them content and they will keep you happy."

Nu-reeh came first through the cover. Three women of only slightly smaller stature followed her in.

"They are fixed!" one of the women said sounding delighted.

The women rattled their wings in some sort of odd celebration.

"So quickly, Nu-reeh, your men must be Healers," another commented. "Perhaps you have misplaced them."

I saw the anger flash in Nu-reeh's eyes, but the other women did not. They were too enraptured looking at the five naked Warriors standing at the wall.

Nu-reeh spoke to Master Damien instead, "You did well," she said simply.

"Thank you, Mistress," we responded.

Nu-reeh gestured and we exited the room with her following us. It seemed inappropriate to walk ahead of the large woman, so we stood to the side and let her pass.

"Tell me, Damien," she said, "have I misplaced you? Should I have trained you in the art of healing?"

"No, Mistress," we answered.

Ridiculous, Master Evan thought.

Horribly boring, Master Bane added.

My men had no interest in healing others just for the sake of it. My opinion was it had been a nice challenge, but I didn't push it. Damien and his Brothers' opinion was set and strong, fighting about it would make us all uncomfortable.

Nu-reeh turned to look at me and I stayed silent. She started to walk again and we followed dutifully.

"Eight days worth of ore from their mines is what their women paid me for bringing them back," she said as we walked the silent halls, "and, a second eight for doing it so quickly."

Christof knew the mines better than anyone, that was an enormous sum. Rue and his Brothers must be valuable to their women. Pity, it would limit our ability to punish them for what they did to Ciara.

"You will be rewarded by suffering less strokes of the lash tomorrow," Nu-reeh informed us as she left us standing outside our leather flap.

"Thank you, Mistress," we replied dutifully.

We went inside and my men flopped down across the various chairs in the sitting area. I looked uncertainly at them. Kneeling was difficult and not comfortable.

"Come sit with me, Ciara," Master Evan offered.

I sat next to him on the long chaise and we held hands as the group relaxed.

"Thank you," I said softly to Evan.

Sitting on the furniture was nice, I definitely preferred it. Except Christof, everyone seemed surprised at the opinion, but happy to have found something I liked. Christof had always thought I should use the furniture. It made me so pleased and they wanted to keep seeing me feel this way. This was something simple they could give me.

Our minds hummed in comfortable synchrony. There was no more dissension in anyone's thoughts. We were together and happy.

I yawned loudly and Master Evan smoothed my hair. They'd worn me out earlier. If they finished what we had started earlier, I would be too tired to enjoy it. That did not particularly bother them, no one felt denied.

"It is time for sleeping," Master Damien announced rising and stretching.

We crawled into bed as a group perfectly content to rest and I dropped off to sleep.

*******

"Where are we?" Christof asked looking around the large crowded auditorium.

It was the school near the motel. This was a branch campus to the local community college. I had planned to attend the next semester's courses.

"Again with the dreams, Ciara?" Damien questioned leaning his tall frame against a desk beside us.

I felt rushed and frantic. My pen was buried in the bottom of my bag and I'd never find it in time to take the test. The paper I was supposed to be filling out kept disappearing off the desk. Failure was imminent if I didn't find a pen and hang onto the paper.

"Ciara," Master Kein said standing in front of me, "this is a dream. There is nothing to do. Tell us where this is."

I wanted to stay anxious and fret, but it wasn't possible. My men didn't feel anxiety in this situation, just curiosity.

"School, community college, to be exact," I said looking around. "I had planned to apply to take classes the next semester. If I got a degree, I could get a better job," I explained. "I wanted to teach," I told them as they walked around the auditorium.

I'd visited the local community college several times. In my room at the motel I had my application all filled out. I had been figuring out how to work the financial aid the state offered. It was complicated, but this would have been my road to a better life.

The anger welled up surprisingly fast and I couldn't hide it. This dream had been ripped from me, just like everything else. I would never be able to do anything like this. I was taken and trapped on a world of monsters now.

Damien didn't understand. My anger was misdirected, he believed. They took good care of me. I had done a horrible job of looking after myself. He shuddered remembering my hands.

"It would have gotten better!" I screamed at him in the dream. "I was going to make it better. It was my life, mine!"

All the barriers to such an outburst existed in my conscious mind and that was not present in dreams. The anger rolled through me and I wanted to escape them. I hated what they had done to me.

In the dream I ran through the halls of the school and onto the road. I ran as far as I could, but I could not escape them. When I turned to look they were always merely a step behind.

I woke up shaking and crying. Not since the first night had I let myself feel this. The sense of loss was too great and I crumbled beneath it. Moving quickly I went into the bathing room and sat cross legged on the floor to cry alone.

I cradled my pregnant belly and prayed for my child. Her life would be free, I hoped.

Christof came to get me. He had persuaded the other men to let me be for a moment.

"Come lay on the bed," he soothed. "You will feel better closer to us."

I shook my head 'no'. I wanted to be alone to grieve for what I had lost. Being right next to my owners wasn't going to make me feel any better. Closing my eyes with my arms wrapped around my stomach I sat and sobbed.

Warmth settled on my other side and I opened my eyes.

"May I please be alone, Masters?" I asked the five men now sitting in the bathing room on the floor around me.

"No," Master Bane said simply leaning against the wall. "We suffer this together."

Master Evan stretched out on his back and lay his head on my lap closing his eyes. It was such a temptation to stroke him when he lay there, I don't know why. My fingers ran across his forehead and he smiled.

"We understand this feeling, Ciara," Master Damien said simply.

They really did understand, in a way. Once they had been free, at least in their minds. Now they were bound to a powerful Mistress. She determined everything about their lives, because they could not resist her strength. It was much the same for me.

The bond hurt when I held myself apart from them. My head ached and I felt a little nauseated. The disagreement brought me pain. Feeling like I had been was not healthy for me. Tucking the anger far away I allowed their thoughts to flood into me.

They were right, I did feel better now that they were close. I took comfort from their presence. The tears slowly dried as we sat there.

The floor was cold and hard, not an ideal place to sit. When I finally came to that conclusion Master Evan lifted off of me and Christof picked me up. They walked with me cradled in Christof's arms back to the bed and laid me down.

Damien lay in front of me and he watched me intensely. I had yelled at him and argued with him in the dream. He hadn't liked it and was frankly irritated with me.

"I'm sorry, Damien," I told him.

He smiled and brushed his lips to mine. I was forgiven. Damien had no desire to stay upset.

I had't meant to show them my anger. It was something I hid. Rightful indignation had no place here, I knew that. The discomfort it had brought proved it. It was a weakness I could not allow.

Christof curled against my back, warming where I had been sitting on the floor. The others did not totally understand how I felt, Christof understood and had no anger about it. In the back of his mind he still held the same opinion, free creatures should be left free. Strength was not a reason to dominate someone else completely.

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