Nava Ch. 01byAnalise Grey©
They had fled, following the lead of the man in the flowing robes, with the long white beard. The ability to leave had come at a great cost, though- death, destruction, and chaos overwhelming the great city until at last the Pharaoh had told them to get out. It was because of all this that Nava hadn't been able to tell the others how she felt. It was also why when the others ran, she'd stayed, and hid.
It had been a day and a half since the great exodus, and she had been hiding in the slave's old quarters, afraid to come out, not sure what to expect. She finally assured herself that it would be silly to have stayed and then not do what she had intended. It was with this in mind that, by cover of night, she made her way to her master's house.
Even before the man in robes had shown up, her master's life had been difficult. His wife had died in child birth a few years back, leaving behind him and his only child, a son. She had been selected to come to his household and help raise the child while he, a noble, worked on matters of state. In her time at the house, she had come to know her master better, and the two of them had come to be close friends, even if her station allowed her to be nothing more than that to him. But then the plagues had started, and she had watched with horror as disaster after disaster occurred because the Pharaoh refused to stand down. And then the final plague had struck, in the dead of night, taking her master's son from him. He'd been devastated, and had ordered her back to the slave's quarters, despite her desperate wish to stay. But as a slave, she'd had to obey.
The order had then been received that the slaves were to pack what they could carry, and get out. There had been much cheering and excitement and the others had made ready to leave. But Nava couldn't bring herself to go. She loved her master deeply, and couldn't bare the thought of leaving him, alone now in his estate, having lost first his wife, and now his son.
Approaching the entrance to his estate, she stalled, stomach twisting itself into knots. What if he were angry? What if he sent her away? What would she do? Her people were gone now, and she would never be able to catch up. She was effectively an outcast, owning no property but the clothes she was wearing, and even those technically weren't hers- her master had given them to her. He could legitimately take them and throw her out on the street naked.
Steeling herself, she walked through the entrance, passing quietly through familiar halls, looking for the man she sought. The house was dark, shadows making her jump, despite herself. She finally arrived at her master's bedchambers, the only room she hadn't checked yet. Nava began to have second thoughts, wondering if perhaps she ought to wait for daylight. After all, she was in the house now, and could simply hide somewhere until everyone was awake. She hadn't considered the fact that by coming in at night, everyone would be asleep.
As she was pondering this, a voice called out from the bedroom.
"Who's there?" It was her master's voice, strong and demanding, not sounding the least bit frightened at the possibility of having an intruder in the house in the middle of the night. Still unsure, Nava kept silent.
"I said who's there?" Nava could hear someone in the room moving, and she ducked into a small alcove in the hallway behind a statue.
And suddenly there he was, standing in the doorway, a short sword held loosely at his side, the moonlight from a nearby window lighting his muscled form.
"I demand that you show yourself."
No longer able to restrain herself, Nava came forward from behind the statue, and dropped to her knees in front of him, bowing forward till her forehead touched the ground in front of her.
"Please Master, don't be angry with me. I couldn't leave you, and so I hid. I didn't mean to intrude on you, but I had to come, I couldn't stay hidden in the slave quarters much longer, you can send me away if you want, I'll understand, just please don't be angry..."
Nava knelt there on the floor for almost a full minute, trembling as she waited to hear her fate. Her master stood silent in front of her, and she desperately wanted to look up at him, and try to read his face, but her nerves wouldn't allow it.
Finally, the silence broke.
She felt a hand on her shoulder, and could sense him dropping to a knee in front of her, and could hear him set the sword down on the floor. Another hand gently touched her head, and moved to her chin, lifting it. She raised her head to look up, and almost started crying from the tenderness she saw on his face. She gasped in surprise as he pulled her forward into a tight hug, holding her in his strong arms.
"I thought you were gone, with the others..."
He let her go, but kept his hands on both of her shoulders, looking her over. He nodded to himself, and then stood up.
"Come with me."
He turned to go back into his room, and Nava made to stand up. She had just made it to her feet, when a feeling of lightheadedness overcame her, and she felt herself stumble forward. She landed hard, taking the brunt of the fall on her hands and knees. She must have made a sound, because her master turned around, and came back to her.
"Nava, are you alright?"
"Yes, I think. I just got a bit lightheaded is all."
Before she realized what was happening, her master had scooped her up in his arms, and he was carrying her into the bedroom.
"Master please, you mustn't carry me! It isn't proper for you to carry one such as myself, please..."
Completely ignoring her, he carried her to the pile of cushions he used as a bed, and carefully placed her down.
"Nava, you're not a slave anymore. The Pharaoh freed your people. You're a free woman now. You don't belong to me. You may call me by my name, Rahim."
Nava's mind swam.
"Do you not want me anymore? Do I not please you? I can leave..." Nava made to try and get up from the nest of pillows she was sitting in, but Rahim gently pushed her back down, smiling at her.
"I do want you, you do please me, and no, you should not leave. But what I said is still true. You are no longer a slave, Nava. You are here now out of your own free will, not because you're being forced. I can't tell you how much that means to me, how much value such an act has. And I think that we ought to talk more about it, at great length. But I think it would be best if it waited till morning, don't you?" Not waiting for an answer, Rahim stood back up and began walking towards the door.
"Where are you going?"
Rahim turned around and smiled at her again, sending a flurry of warmth through her stomach.
"I'm going to find you something to eat. You look starved. It's probably why you felt faint."
Nava thought about it, and realized that other than a small vegetable or two she had managed to grab before hiding, she hadn't really eaten anything in a day and a half. She had largely been running on adrenaline, and food hadn't been her top priority. Her master had been.
"You stay there and rest. I'll bring you something to eat, and then we'll sleep. We'll talk more in the morning." With that, Rahim left Nava to her own mind.