A Slave to the Servants Ch. 17byDoctorWolf©
Thanks for all the kind words and VOTES! Just basking in the attention here. Hope everyone enjoys this next chapter.
If you see mistakes let me know - I'm always trying to improve.
All comments are welcome love it or hate it.
A thousand thanks to Steve150177 for his continuous desire to make the story flow well. I really appreciate the hours he spends proofreading.
English is in italics when it occurs.
I woke slowly. My limbs would not move and I couldn't open my eyes. I felt a pressure on my chest and heard hiccuping sobs.
"She won't wake up," Hannah cried.
"We used the calming cream, Hannah. It makes a human sleepy. Take a meal and don't worry," Christof soothed.
My sluggish brain knew he shouldn't be here. I fought to remember why hearing his voice made me want to cry. He had mentioned the cream, I knew that really screwed up my memory.
I felt as my breast was pulled out of my outfit. A mouth started to suck and then the whimpering started again.
"I want Mama to hold me!" Hannah cried. "Mama holds me when I feed!"
"Baby Girl," Christof used my pet name for her, "stop fussing. Your Mama is sleeping. Take your meal and you will feel better."
Hannah drained me, but she didn't leave. She pulled my limp arm around her. I tried to hold her, but I couldn't control my arms.
My brain started to fade again, but not before I had a single memory. In hazy relief, I saw Hannah's sharp wing tip slashing across Bane's chest. She had touched them.
What would Nu-reeh do? I wondered as I faded out again.
I woke and Hannah was snuggled next to me, deeply asleep. It was dark and my men were all sound asleep around us. Not surprisingly, I had to pee.
Struggling to disentangle myself from Hannah, I moved to the edge of the bed. I walked carefully, the cream always left me dizzy and disoriented. As I passed into the main room, I almost fell. Strong hands stopped my descent and I was lifted.
Damien chuckled and picked me up.
"You are so predictable," he said quietly as he carried me to the bathroom, "same time every night."
Damien carried me into the main room after I was done. The whole family was standing around in their linen wraps talking quietly. They looked up and smiled when they saw me.
"Awake, finally," Evan sighed softly.
"Too much cream, little Brother," Bane chided looking at Kein.
"She had to sleep," Kein defended. "I made sure she didn't follow us. That's what we wanted."
The conversation would have continued, but I interrupted. "Why didn't she kill you?" I whispered. "There was a fight and Hannah touched you, I saw it. I can't remember all of it, but I remember Hannah cutting Bane. The wound would have been hard to hide."
Even now Bane had a huge scab that crossed his chest. By the look of it, that slash would leave an impressive scar.
"Hannah has honor," Christof said seriously. "When we got to Nu-reeh, Hannah was already there. She explained she had touched us and we did not touch her. Hannah asked that we not be punished for what she had done."
I was horrified and looked toward the sleeping room. My poor baby, what had Nu-reeh done to her. Struggling out of Damien's arms, I stumbled as I rushed to check on my baby.
My hands ran over Hannah's form, but she didn't stir. I couldn't find any injuries, but her fur was so thick. There was no way to see exactly what was underneath. My panicked eyes sought Damien's as he looked questioningly at me.
"What did she do to her?" I asked.
"Nu-reeh told Hannah not to harm her men. She said she wasn't worried about us touching Hannah anymore, either. Nu-reeh said Damien's offspring can defend herself now. Hannah thanked Nu-reeh and said it wouldn't happen again," Christof said coming closer to me.
"And?!" I asked terrified.
Hannah slept well, but not this deeply. She wasn't even stirring as we talked and I touched her.
"And we came back here; she met us here. She's very worried about you. Hannah fears we will tire of you. She promised us anything we wanted if we would just take care of you for your lifetime," Christof said sitting on the bed.
I vaguely remembered Hannah screaming something to that effect at my men. She had worried they would tire of me, as men so often had tired of my mother.
Kein sat down beside Christof, "You truly believe we would rid ourselves of you?" he asked sounding hurt. "You are family. We never separate from family."
"I wasn't always fam-" I started to say and Bane cut me off.
"You are now. Besides that, we told you we would not sell you the first day. Have you forgotten?" he asked.
I was not really worried about that right now. Hannah was my main concern and she was laying so still on the bed.
"My daughter," I insisted, "my child, what happened to her? Was she hurt? Why doesn't she wake up?"
Christof leaned closer to Hannah and looked at her. "We don't know. She was upset when she talked to us and then she got hungry," he grimaced.
"So she got more upset," I prompted, "and then what happened."
"She fed," Evan said simply.
"And then what happened?" I asked trying to stay calm.
"She slept beside you," Christof said. "We went to the sorting room. She was here when we got back. She woke very confused and drank from you again. We went to dinner and she was still with you when we returned."
Hannah was never confused when she woke up. She was bright and energetic when she was done sleeping. Staying in the bed all day was also very unlike her. It was like she had been drugged.
"Damn it!" I cursed. "No more calming cream while I'm nursing," I ordered them. "I have to wash the rest of it off, now!"
Stumbling to the wash room, they helped me wash the cream off my skin. Hannah was ingesting it through the breast milk. Her system was enough like mine that it affected her. I wished there was a way to give her nutrition that wasn't tainted, but the only way to feed her was with my milk.
"So you're saying we could have calmed the little female down with the cream?" Evan chuckled.
"No," I said irritated, "do not put it on her. She can't defend herself like this. Poor little girl, hopefully it won't do any permanent damage."
We got back in bed and I pulled Hannah right next to me. She was deeply asleep and didn't rouse at all. I shook her lightly and she didn't even move.
"I need you all to do something for me," I said to the men laying down around me.
"Anything," Damien answered propping onto an elbow.
"Drain the milk that is in me now. It will probably make her sleep more if she takes it. I'm sure the cream is still affecting it," I said.
They did not like that idea at all. Nu-reeh said not to touch Hannah's food source.
"Her food source is virtual poison right now," I argued. "Nu-reeh wouldn't like to see her like this and I don't want to advertise this happens to Hannah. It is a point of weakness."
The men understood that argument. Weakness would be exploited if it was found. No one could know this about Hannah.
Kein came beside me grinning madly. He kissed all over a full breast and teased the engorged nipple with his fingers. I was so sensitive I almost hurt, but understood he probably missed this.
"Keep stalling, little Brother," Bane teased, "Hannah may wake up and demand food."
Kein latched onto the nipple and sucked. He seemed surprised by the volume of liquid I was producing, but he didn't stop until nothing was left. Evan took his place and took care of the other breast. Once he was done, he spoke.
"You are correct," Evan said. "There is a hint of the calming cream in the liquid. I taste it."
"Nobody can know that this stuff affects Hannah," I whispered. "It would be judged as a weak human attribute."
"Of course, we will not say anything," Damien promised.
I looked around the bed and the other men murmured assent. It would be our secret.
"We will not sell you," Evan insisted getting back to their earlier point. "We will never rid ourselves of you."
"I appreciate that you feel that way, but that isn't how slavery works," I said shaking my head. "It is very unnerving to think about."
"Well," Bane said laying his head back into his hands, "you aren't a slave, so you don't need to worry anymore. We are your family and we will care for you."
"Thank you," I said stroking my sleeping daughter.
The cream had left me sleepy, but I didn't rest anymore during the night. I sat up watching Hannah. The men woke up at their normal time and started to move around. Hannah still slept.
"Taste the milk, please," I begged Evan. "Tell me if it is still tainted."
Thankfully, it was clean. Evan only tasted the milk, but he wanted to continue. He would have drained the breast, but I swatted him playfully away.
"You have teeth," I smiled. "She will wake up and need to nurse. Go eat your morning meal in the dining hall."
My men promised to bring me food and left me alone with my daughter. My anxiety didn't diminish until she opened her eyes.
Hannah had missed at least one and probably two feedings during the night. She woke up hungry, cranky, and crying. Much like when she was first born, she was almost too upset to feed.
I sang to her and rocked her until she started to suck. Hannah was slow and uncoordinated. She had trouble drinking and drooled a little. I imagined her memory was impaired also. Gingerly, I stroked her and tried to keep her calm.
"Wha happen, Mama?" she slurred once she was done nursing.
She tried to rise and wasn't able to get her balance. Her wings and their deadly tips careened wildly trying to find stability. One tip sliced through several of the bed sheets beside me like they were butter. I reached for her and felt her talons almost dig into my flesh.
"Baby Girl, let me hold you and relax. Just don't try to move around right now," I said soothing her and stroking her wings. "You drank from me after the men put calming cream on me. Some of it got into the breast milk and now it is affecting you. You are like me and the cream affects you, too."
Hannah sunk into my arms and curled up on my lap. Her wings still tittered as though trying to steady her. The sharp spears on the end tip swung precariously over my lap as I soothed her.
"Don't feel good, Mama," she whined snuggling close.
I shushed her, promising it would pass. Hannah fell back to sleep tucked in my arms. By mid morning she felt much better when she woke to nurse. By late afternoon she was herself again.
We talked a long time about the things she'd said to Damien and his Brothers. Some of it she did not remember saying, but she certainly felt that way. My position in this household terrified her, talking about it seemed to help some.
Having the reason for her fears out in the open changed Hannah's relationship with my men. She talked to them now and didn't hiss. The unrestrained anger seemed to have abated and she treated them like equals.
I woke late one night to find her sitting on Damien's stomach. At first I thought she was hurting him and then I realized they were just talking. Since I typically slept deeply, it was no wonder they found it a good time to talk. I closed my eyes, lay still, and listened.
"Nu-reeh is going to send you back to the compound," she told Damien. "She told me once my teeth come in and I leave; you will all go back."
"Your Mama will be safer in the compound," Bane whispered from the other side of the bed. "The other Warriors respect the rules and your female breeder knows them well. I fear for her safety around the women and the men here. They are not as respectful of the rules."
"I don't want to leave Mama," Hannah told them. "I want her to stay here, with me, in the mountains."
Christof spoke next, "We will care for her. We swear it to you. Men like us never tire of family," he said gently. "From the little bit we understand, you are supposed to travel."
Everyone in the bed told Hannah the same thing in soft murmured voices. I heard her shuddering breath as she tried to trust them.
"I am torn. The world, it intrigues me, but I don't want to leave her," Hannah whispered, "I still want to see her."
"Well," Damien said thoughtfully, "there are ways you could visit her. Nu-reeh can probably arrange what you want."
"I wish to stay with her," Hannah said softly, "but I also wish to travel."
"You should travel," Damien said seriously. "Come back to these mountains if you wish, but you should see the world first."
Kein sighed and said he would have liked to travel. No one ever told him it was an option. He and his Brothers had just assumed the Administrators knew what was best for them. Now, though, he felt he had missed out.
"Imagine places where water falls from the sky all the time," he said softly. "We see it so infrequently here. I would like to see it more often."
"And the tami tree," Bane said, "wouldn't it be nice to live in a place closer to that wonderful plant. I love the taste of the meat prepared with it."
The men talked softly about all the things they wanted to see for themselves. It would have been fun to travel together. They would have enjoyed it.
"I can feel the teeth under my gums," Hannah admitted quietly, "It will not be long."
I sucked in a gasp and Hannah crawled over to me. "Mama, are you awake?" she asked.
Pretending to be waking up, I asked if she was hungry.
Damien looked knowingly at me as Hannah suckled. He knew I had heard at least part of the conversation. It was a kindness to me that he didn't bring it up.
Hannah was cranky the next day. The bad mood got worse every time she came back inside to feed. Finally, she told me her gums hurt.
I looked in her mouth and saw the sharp points of teeth cutting through. On Earth I remembered children sucked on something cold to help with the pain when they were teething. An idea struck me and I marched with Hannah to the sorting room.
"I shouldn't look up," I whispered to Hannah once we made it there. "Find our family, we need to talk to them."
Hannah held my hand and we weaved through the confused men in the sorting room.
Damien was surprised to see me and a little puzzled at what I wanted.
"Those green stalks, Master Damien," I told him quietly. "I need them and I need them kept cold for Hannah."
He looked at me questioningly, but didn't do anything other than send Kein to get what I wanted.
"Go back to our rooms," he told me quietly. "Kein will bring you what you need."
While we waited for Kein I rocked Hannah back and forth to comfort her. There would not be many more times like this, I knew. I tucked the feeling of holding her close deep inside and swore to preserve it.
Kein brought in a metal tub and sat it inside the door way. He told me it would keep the things inside cold. It was filled to the brim with chilled green stalks.
"Here," I told Hannah, "put it in your mouth and suck on it. The cold with help the ache some."
Kein lingered to watch what we were doing. He made a show of using the bathroom and getting a drink. It was obvious to me what he was up to, though. Most likely Christof was curious and it was bleeding through to Kein.
Hannah sucked on the stalk and the strain on her face eased some.
"It feels better, Mama," she told me grinning, "and I like the taste."
"Good, just keep sucking," I instructed.
"I don't understand," Kein finally said, as Hannah sat with the cool against her gums.
"Growing teeth hurt," I explained.
Kein tilted his head to look at me. "I grow my teeth all the time and they don't hurt."
"Hannah's part human," I shrugged, "we experience pain when our teeth grow in the first time."
Hannah removed the stalk from her mouth to complain, "They usually grow in one at a time, right, Mama? Not all once, it hurts more all at once."
Kein wrinkled his nose and looked at me. Evidently their teeth grew in at the same time. He thought it would look funny to have them grow in slowly.
"It does," Hannah assured him before she stuck the green stalk back in her mouth.
Hannah stayed inside with me the rest of the day. She spent most of it sucking on a cold stalk.
Once she was finally more comfortable, I brought up the inevitable conversation.
"You know what this means," I said to her. "Once your teeth are fully developed, you're supposed to go out on your own."
She pouted, "I don't want to."
"Well, it's just what's done. Do you even see any other young women flying around here?" I asked.
She shrugged, "Some, the other young women I see are usually several mountains away. It is considered...well, tacky, to fly too close to the mountain housing the men. The women that live in the area get angry if they find you too close and you're not still nursing."
"What do they tell you?" I asked her.
Hannah grudgingly admitted they told her about the places they had been. She asked questions and the other girls just assumed her mother was very old.
"They think I do not know the other places because my mother hasn't been to them in so long. I just let them think that," she said.
"That's a wise decision," I admitted. "It wouldn't do to have them think you are weak. Nu-reeh has said you are petite. I know you learned to fight from your father, but I'm not sure it would be effective against other women."
Hannah smiled a wicked smile. "Oh, I'm small, Mama, so they think I am weak and I let them think that. I've play fought many girls in the mountains. I usually win."
That was shocking information. I didn't know Hannah fought. She never came back wounded.
"I heal fast," she admitted sheepishly, "like my father. My skin isn't as tough as the other girls, so it's a good thing. I didn't think you would like it that I was fighting. On Earth, I know you avoided fighting, so I hid it from you."
I thought I had paid attention to her, but Hannah had been sneaky. She explained how she washed off the blood and let the wounds scab before she came to eat. Hannah always lay so I wouldn't stroke the wounded side.
"Very deceptive, Baby Girl, but I'm glad to know you can take care of yourself," I said shaking my head.
"I use Dad's moves," she told me getting more animated, "the girls don't expect me to fight like that. The way I fight is disconcerting to them. They all fight the same way, except me."
Hannah sucked on green stalks and we talked. I finally admitted to Hannah what Nu-reeh had said, namely that her staying with me would make her weak. Even if she wanted us to stay together, Nu-reeh would not let us.
"I can see why," I said straightening the room a second time to steady my shaking hands. "Compared to other girls you would have less experiences. I imagine that traveling alone like that makes you more self reliant, also."
The tears wanted to come, but I fought them. I was asking her to leave the safe confines of this mountain. This world was wild and dangerous. All I could do was pray she would be safe in it.
Hannah's arms wrapped around me as I refolded blankets to distract myself.
"Mama, I know this scares you," she said. "I'm not afraid of the world. I only worry about you. Daddy promises he will keep you safe. He has sworn to me he will care for you. Nu-reeh guaranteed me she would see you placed with a good family if something happened to Daddy."
We spent the day talking. I cried some and so did she. We knew our lives were about to change in a big way and neither of us could stop it.
"I'll be strong one day, Mama," she promised me fiercely. "I'll be strong enough to protect both of us."