Kismet Ch. 05byRedHairedandFriendly©
Author's Note: This is the fifth installment of the chain story Kismet that was started 03/28/08. Due to personal reason I took a break from writing and sadly the chain story, the talented writers - that had agreed to help tell Afsoon's story, and you the readers were forced to wait until I returned. My apologies to everyone, and I hope -- now that life seems more stable -- we authors can produce a tale that draws you in and leaves you breathless. I would ask that whether you're old to Kismet or you are a returning fan, slip back to Ch. 01-03, refresh yourself on Afsoon's plight. Thanks and enjoy ~ Red
A loud banging pounded deep inside the recesses of the woman's head. Her left eye was swollen shut, her lips battered, bruised and blooded. A graceful neck, that once displayed gems of the rarest quality, now only showcased discoloration of porcelain flesh. Hera slipped in and out of consciousness. She'd had received one last beating at the hands of Mada, her lover's wife, and former best friend; now she sat huddled in the corner of a cart. Men and women, all nude, were pressed into her like cattle going to slaughter. Was that to be her fate? Had Mada arranged not only for her daughter Afsoon to be sold to General Risay, but for her own life to be taken. She had known it was wrong to fall in love with Mada's husband, but it had happened. How could one control one's heart? It mattered not though, her heart now lay in pieces, torn bit by bit as her daughter was paraded, pawed, and later sold to the most notorious of all slave owners. Hera closed her eyes, praying that Afsoon would heed her warning and her and Azlan's offspring would live, one day escaping her plight and returning to England even if under a shadow of shame.
It was nightfall by the time the wagon stopped, the stench of bodily fluids, sweat and blood mixed with the cool night air. Hera was jerked awake when the chains she wore were pulled and the iron cuffs bit into her tender flesh. She shook her head, trying to push her hair from her eyes, but failing miserably. Instead she was forced to stare at her surroundings through the one eye that had not swollen closed. She made out the landscape of where the wagon drivers had chosen to make camp. She noticed several canvas tents had been quickly erected, women and men dressed in common tunics hurried to ready meals, and baths for whomever requested them. She stumbled, felt someone grab her hair and jerk her to her feet. They pushed her off the wagon; she tumbled onto the sand, and then was kicked when she did not rise quick enough for the leader's liking. "An English whore, only good in the crotch, I suspect. But you were a cheap one, and even a cheap whore can be taught how to pick out the rarest of gems and the glimmer of copper."
Hera's ears perked up. So she would become a miner. She would work deep in the bowels of the Earth, chiseling away at rock and dirt, extracting two of the most precious commodities offered by the dessert. Copper and Turquoise. That was her fate. Whose lands would she be working? Azlan's? Or were they moving further away from all she held dear. Hera could not imagine Mada allowing her to be alive, and within site of Azlan discovering her, but she also could not imagine her being so far as to not know where she was at all times either. Hera tried not to think of her daughter. Afsoon was a brave girl, strong, courageous and as brilliant as she was beautiful. Right now, Hera had to survive long enough to gain strength, and then she would find her way back to Azlan, Afsoon, and even Mada, whom she would extract her revenge on.
A hard kick to her rump brought Hera to her knees. "Move you lazy cow," the man behind her shouted. Hera stood up, ignoring her wounds and moved toward the small cluster of women whom had been in the cart with her. She stood there, trembling as the dessert sun began to slip under the horizon, and the chill of the night slowly started to cover the land. Fires had been started, and men had made their way over to the women. Each one cast curious glances over Hera, some bartered for the right to claim her as their bed mate for the night, even exchanging coin. Eventually though, one man appeared seemingly out of no where. Her gaze held his but for a moment, and she knew he was not to be taken lightly. When he implied to all that he would take the Englishwoman to his tent, no one questioned him. He snapped his fingers, a smaller woman, not much older than Afsoon ushered to his side. He spoke low, Hera making out only a small fraction of the words. The girl was given a key, moved toward Hera and quickly released the shackles that had torn at her flesh.
"Come with me. A quick bath and you will be presented to Captain Ulvi."
Hera knew her plight, accepted it, just as she had instructed her daughter to. She'd been raped repeatedly by Mada's guards, her once friend had even watched -- her laughter had bounced off the walls, ingraining itself into Hera's mind. The broken and battered Englishwoman walked as best she could along side the slave girl. They made their way slowly to a small pool of water that had others bathing in it. The water was far from clean, but it would do well in removing most of the dirt that covered Hera's skin. She walked into it, followed by the woman, and with her help, she left the water feeling only slightly less filthy than when she'd entered. "Now we will go to Ulvi Nasib's quarters."
She said nothing, again choosing to do what she had to in order to survive. Hera stepped into the quarters, the girl followed. Inside she took in the thick covers that rested on a woven mat. They looked to be soft, welcoming, luxurious to the touch, but most of all they looked menacing. She would have to lie on them, and take this stranger into her, willingly too -- for she knew she could not stand another beating. "Come over here, and there is more water, this is to finish cleaning you, then we will perfume your body, the stench of the others must not be smelled upon your flesh, or Ulvi will be much angered."
As if she were nothing more than a pawn on a chessboard, Hera moved with the woman, allowed her to touch her with a cloth that felt as if it were rough enough to scrub the first layer of flesh off a woman's body. However, when the girl brought the cloth down on the cuts that had been made into Hera's flesh it was done in a loving gentle caress. In time, Hera was bathed, her bruises seemed to be more dominate now that they too shined from cleanliness. "Thank you," she whispered softly when presented with a cup full of wine. She drank deep, coughed from its sourness, but was encouraged to drink more. She wiggled her nose in disgust, but remained obedient. After all, she could not remember when she last drank or ate for that matter. The wine filled her belly, and when it grumbled loud, her cheeks grew pink from embarrassment. She covered her stomach, apologized for her manners, then laughed softly at the absurdity of her actions.
"Eat," the girl told her, pointed to a bowl of fruit and then turned to leave. She paused looked back at Hera and frowned. "You are a unique find, one that Ulvi Nasib will enjoy this night, and many others if you please him. Do not try to harm him. He is loved by many here and your death would not come quick enough. Please him and he will reward you -- to do otherwise will only have you delivered into the hands of someone less gentle." Hera lifted a brow, but said nothing as she picked up a handful of dates and shoved them into her mouth -- manners after all were no longer her concern.
Ulvi Nasib 'Abbas found her asleep when he entered his tent. Looking about the room he saw that she had eaten most of the fruit that had been brought for him, the air smelled of the perfumes young Tulay had used, and he knew without a doubt that the slave girl had warned the Englishwoman to not disappoint him. Tulay would be shocked to learn that the woman had not only eaten most of the food, but had also made herself comfortable on his cot -- without him in it. Already he could hear the slave screeching at the woman, and calling her ungrateful, offering to punish the foreigner so that he would not have to dirty his hands. Tulay, loved her master, and for that he was grateful, she was a trusted girl, one he often found favor with.
Tonight though he wanted to lie between the Englishwoman's thighs and his body had yearned for release the moment he had heard she was ready for him. Her figure, now covered by blankets had looked promising in the soft moonlight. He moved to light a few more lanterns, then turned to make his way to the woman's sleeping form. He leaned down, frowned at the bruised features. He had seen evidence of her beating, but it had been hard to make out the marks as the sunlight faded and the darkness came. Now with the lanterns burning, he was able to see that whomever had trained the woman in the art of bedding a man had done so with a heavy hand. Ulvi cursed softly, eased the blanket from the figure, and closed his eyes. Was there no part to her that had been spared? He would have to seek out the wagon master and discover who this woman was, and what role she had had in the village.
As much as he wanted to bury himself between her womanly folds, he could not. He was not an animal. He was a firm leader, but he worshiped the bodies of women, he did not have need to subject them to torture to gain his pleasure. His new purchase rolled over, exposing her back to him. It too was marred, with what he assumed had been a cane, perhaps even several lashes of the master's whip had been laid across her back. The wounds were not old either. Tulay had take care in washing the female, but it was obvious she would need more care than a simple bath could give. He moved to stroke her hair, it was a tangled mess, but shined like the rubies his mother often wore when his father returned from the market. A heavy sighed left his parted lips. He would seek release from another, this little bird would need to wait. Gingerly he touched her arm, hoping to ease it back under the blanket. When his fingers brushed lazily across her wrist, a cry filled the canvas enclosure. He stepped back, and waited for her to awaken. When she did not, he inspected her wrist, cursed low -- she would need to be tended to much more quickly than he'd realized.
Release would not be coming after all, he felt his aroused state diminish fully upon the realization that Tulay would be busy with the new purchase, and he really had no desire to bed with any other but the Englishwoman or his favored slave. Ulvi left the tent, and went in search for the Tulay, who would work to find the healers and set the woman's body to rights.
~ ~ ~ * ~ ~ ~
Tulay watched Hera eat her meal. The wounds were healing, for that she was grateful, but she was ready to go home. This Englishwoman had caused their small caravan to remain behind while the others had continued on toward Captain Ulvi's home. Her home. It had been a week of bathing, feeding, and lavishing the woman with healing herbs, and creams, but now her patience was wearing thin. Ulvi had only lain with her once and though the joining had been pleasant, she knew he was distracted by the woman who had spent the first three nights of her stay with them in a fevered state. Now the woman called Hera seemed quite capable of moving on her own, taking care of her own needs, and lying with Master Ulvi. Tulay wasn't jealous or angry with the newest addition to Ulvi's keep, she was just anxious to be back where her possessions were within easy reach of her friends and family.
The young slave girl turned when she heard voices outside the tent's opening. Her ears picked up the speech concerning traveling and readying the camp. Joy brought a smile to her lips. "Finally," she said, giving her attentions back to Hera, "do you hear that, we leave within the hour. Hurry up and finish your meal." Tulay jumped to her feet, rushed around the tent, gathering up what she could and worked to secure all that her Master found precious.
Hera watched the woman do the unspoken chores of preparation. Her insides churned. She recalled little of the first few days of her arrival to the camp. She barely remembered the bath, nor did she recall ever being used by Ulvi Nasib 'Abbas. It was only when she was able to remain conscious long enough to carry on an intelligent conversation did she learn that Ulvi had never laid with her, and that Tulay as well as a few others had worked to keep her alive. She found herself both angered with the knowledge, but grateful too. There had been times she'd dreamed of her past, dreamed of those that had tormented her, and dreamed of her daughter -- during those times she had longed to die. Every so often though a soothing voice would beckon her back and she would embrace the promising warmth that blanketed her. The kindness in the voice was really the only think keeping her tethered to this world.
"Hurry up, girl," Tulay's voice was full of anxiety, "we are to go home -- finally. You have only had a small taste of our Master's riches. He is by no means more wealthy than some, but he is wealthy enough that you will never want for anything."
Hera rose to her feet, noted that most of her joints and muscles did not ache like they had before. "I thought I was to be taken to the mines. I am sure that was what was told to me when I arrived."
Tulay frowned. "Perhaps, had you not been purchased by Captain Ulvi Nasib 'Abbas -- he would not put you in the mines. No woman under his protection ever goes to the mines." The woman shuttered. "It is a death sentence."
"Then I am grateful to have fallen into his clutches," Hera muttered.
"Come help me, there is not much left for us to do. I am tired of waiting on you, and it is time you made use of yourself, since you have not yet made yourself useful to my Master's cock."
Hera blushed at Tulay's reprimand. She hurried to do what was asked of her, packing up the dishes she'd used with her meal, after she'd washed them. When the two women left the canvas tent, there were two men waiting to tear it down. Hera looked around amazed at how quickly everyone worked to leave little evidence of their stay. When she asked why, Tulay explained that it was not wise to leave signs of great wealth behind, for fear bandits would follow their tracks and lift them of their wares. Hera blanched. She'd never accounted for bandits in the countless plans of escape. Perhaps there really was no way out of Captain Ulvi's clutches without confiding in him who she was, and how powerful an ally Sultan Azlan could be.