A Slave to the Servants Ch. 36byDoctorWolf©
Thanks to everyone for the feedback and comments, Steve and I both read them! I will admit to still being behind on feedback via email. I'm catching up, just slowly! Thanks to all for the constructive advice about clothes vs cloth - oops.
A word of advice to aspiring Lit authors - don't procreate, they are s-o-o-o-o time consuming! In a good way of course, I've had a couple of requests for suggestions - that's the best one I have!
Many thanks to Steve150177 for his support and help. He keeps me on track.
The next chapter is due August 15 or August 16, I hope! My little girl doesn't appreciate computer time. Can you believe that?
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Mycah's family slept until the midday meal. They woke up as Abram's Brother, Ruse, came by with a tray full of food. The smell of something to eat woke them up right away.
I ate with Mycah's family and they seemed content. The Great Harmonious Spirit still had them because they were markedly calmer than they should have been. The Healers came and checked their wounds and they didn't mind at all.
It was abundantly obvious the moment the men deemed the camp safe again. The Great Harmonious Spirit released its hold and I had five edgy boys that wanted to do something. Actually, they wanted to do anything other than sit quietly on a warm slab in the infirmary.
"Mama, can we go look for aliens?" Niah asked crawling onto my lap, he had big brown eyes that pleaded with me.
"Can we go ride on the transports again, Mama?" Aiden asked, wrapping a hand in my hair and pulling at it roughly.
"I want to fight!" Jonathan demanded bouncing up and down.
The children explained to me in detail everything they wanted to do. They wanted to go back outside and see the trees. Mycah wanted to learn to swim. Rees wanted to know what Damien and his Brothers were doing. Niah was curious about the parts of the camp they hadn't been in yet. They seemed impossible to organize like this and I couldn't answer all of them at once.
"Stop jumping around and sit down!" I ordered them, watching Aiden and Jonathan start to roughhouse. "You'll tear open the wounds on your bodies. You need to be still, right now!"
One would listen for a second, but I couldn't get all five of them organized. I'd never been a "parent" in the real sense. Certainly not to five boys at once. This was very new to me.
"Speak to the lead Brother," the woman with the neck wound gruffly informed me when it became obvious I was losing what modicum of control I had over them. "The lead Brother will tame the others. They aren't old enough to focus their thoughts, yet, but you can help them do that."
I spoke to Mycah and looked him in the eye. It seemed to settle all of them. The questions and complaints now came from just one little boy. I could handle that better.
"You don't have clothing," I reminded Mycah, pinching his naked thigh, "so you can't go outside. Your Daddy and his Brothers aren't here to teach you to swim. You have to rest here until the Healers tell you it is okay to go play with the other little boys."
Restless did not begin to describe the five of them. I worried they'd pull out the sutures the Healers had put in. I begged them to be still, but they were bored and activity was normal to them.
They needed to be amused, so I told them stories. Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, and Peter Rabbit. The stories meant nothing to them.
"Do you boys know where aliens come from?" the woman with the neck wound asked pointedly, turning her face slightly toward us.
Mycah explained they came out of burning hunks of metal, which is what the boys had seen. He was quite sure of that. The aliens lived in burning ships that exploded on the ground.
"They come from other planets. Places very far away from here. At night, way up in the sky, you can see their home planet. It glows faintly red," the woman explained.
The boys didn't believe her, but this was a story they could get into. All my stories had been about things they'd never seen and could not imagine. When the woman talked about the aliens and the night sky, they had a frame of reference.
Tyle's family came by and quietly undid the ropes binding the large woman to the slab. They didn't interrupt her as she spoke to the little ones about other planets and different alien beings. She knew a lot about the alien race that I was most familiar with, the snake looking things, and talked mostly about those.
My five nude boys sat on the edge of their slab closest to her and listened to her talk. I sat with them and they were finally content. Aiden reached a hand into my hair and played absently with the strands. Otherwise, they were still and quiet, completely engrossed in her story telling. This was intensely interesting to them. I was just relieved they weren't tearing open their wounds.
The woman let the boys ask her questions, but she insisted they come from Mycah.
"The family needs to learn to communicate internally, so their bond is strong," she explained to me, almost begrudgingly. "They will each express themselves independently when they are doing different things. When they should be all focused they need to center themselves on their lead Brother."]
Focusing the questions on Mycah seemed to give the boys more stability. They could stay calm when everything was funneled that way. It was a lesson for me and one I appreciated.
"Thank you," I said directing my comment to the woman, she had no interest in me and turned away. I felt good having been polite, though.
Paterians were different from Earthlings. Over many moons I'd learned to appreciate the way Damien's family interacted with others. Unless something was going on, Damien spoke for the group. It should not have surprised me that Mycah's family should behave the same way. These boys would probably be a lot like Damien's family and I should anticipate that.
When I thought about it, I knew more about Paterian children than I admitted to myself. Rose and I had written stories for them, I knew what they liked to read and hear. These were males that liked stories based on what was around them. Treating Jonathan and his family like Earth children would not work. My baby was part of this world, so I had to treat him accordingly. I needed to treat him as what he was, a Paterian.
Tyle and his Brothers passed by and the woman demanded their attention.
"Those children cannot even be three turns of the sun yet," she said gruffly. "Find them something to do to keep them calm. They can't be left with nothing to do."
Aryn smirked just the way Bane would have as they moved away. The woman's mannerisms were funny to them, but they listened to her. She certainly had a commanding presence.
The boys were given that paper like substance and something like multicolored crayons. The woman demanded they draw pictures of the aliens and their crafts. She wanted them to draw a ship and an alien they'd seen. The activity was interesting to the boys and kept them busy, but still.
"Do you have a male offspring?" I asked hesitantly, unsure if she would speak to me.
It took a few heartbeats before she gruffly informed me she'd never had offspring.
I got the impression this was a sore spot for her and thought the matter would die quietly. It did not.
"You should stay in the camp, cousin," a grown man said from a slab in front of us. "Our essence is strong here. You would breed powerful, fine offspring and we would be honored to try with you. We sense you are near your cycle."
It was, by far, the worst pick up line I had ever heard. My face flushed red and I turned to see a family looking lustily back at the woman. It was like being in the middle of a bar and your girlfriend is getting hit on.
The man talking wore his hair long and he and his Brothers were shirtless. Heavy muscle lay underneath their deeply striped skin giving the men a powerful appearance. They were scarred from fighting beasts outside, but not from whips or women's teeth. These men had lived a rough life, but it had been on their terms. Given my experience, I could see these were free born, full-blooded Paterians.
I saw the wound on one Brother that must be keeping them here. He had a nasty, deep burn across his chest. The Healers had coated it in a clear salve, but I could see the edge of a bone beneath the treatment. The man stayed very still on the slab, but he did look over at the woman. Even he was eyeing her like he'd eat her for dinner.
"Are you even old enough to breed?" she asked curtly, although it was obvious they were.
The lead Brother wasn't injured and slid off the slab to approach the woman. His three uninjured Brothers followed him like they were stalking prey. They were quite good looking men, in a rough animalistic way. The woman must have thought the same thing, because I saw the look she was giving them.
"I am Eran, born in the T'lynien Mountains," he said proudly before introducing his Brothers. "I am fifteen moons past old enough to breed. We enjoy powerful women and are still looking for permanent mates. None of the women we have met have matched our needs, though."
The men had reached the edge of her slab and they lined up along it watching the woman. Their eyes took in her muscular physique and her prominent fangs. One Brother slid his hand along the edge of her powerful wing as it sat next to him. She seemed startled at first, but I think their bravery was wooing her. She finally relented to her obvious interest.
"I am Sotar, of the T'scan Mountains," she told them haughtily.
It felt so gross and so wrong to watch this happen. I twisted my body so I was no longer facing the uncomfortable conversation and watched my boys color. In my time at the compound I'd had more than enough of watching other couples together. This was not an interaction I needed to see.
The drawing was good for the boys. They lay on their tummies around the paper and each drew part of the picture that was in their collective thoughts. This activity was entertaining and it connected them. I'd have to remember this.
After a while I realized none of the boys had used the lacquered pots all morning. In my worry and anxiety, I had not either. Since I did not want to clean up a mess on our warm stone, I got us all up.
"Come on," I ordered, "let's go relieve ourselves of fluid."
The boys jumped off the slab and started to look curiously around. Now that they were down, they wanted to see everyone else in here. Most of the other Paterians on the slabs were badly injured. They didn't need curious little boys crawling all over them.
I remembered seeing Trenal walk with the boys. She'd picked up Mycah and the others followed obediently. It had felt like she was abusing their bond, but it had worked, so I decided to do that.
Mycah was a little surprised as I lifted him up and settled him on my hip. Luckily, he wasn't heavy, so it was easy work. Mycah wasn't used to being carried and looked back at his Brothers before looking quizzically at me. I took several confident strides forward before turning my head to look. The boys followed their lead Brother without straying. They would go wherever he did.
We moved without pause through the wounded toward the back of the healing chamber. There was a room with lacquered pots back there, but almost no one used them except those doing the healing. Most of our patients released their fluid into the urinal like gourds.
I put Mycah's feet on the floor and he went to the closest pot. Jonathan and the rest of the boys followed him so they all stood and used the same pot. Pulling up my skirt I sat and used one beside them. They finished first and now I had their full attention.
"Why do you sit down to urinate?" Aiden asked putting a hand on my thigh.
Jonathan stood at the other thigh and tugged at it. Mycah was peering between my legs and I couldn't have been more uncomfortable.
"Come sit with me and I'll tell you about it," Molly called from the door laughing at my predicament.
Five heads turned to me and I gladly gave them permission to go with Molly, anything for a moment of privacy.
I left the room with pots and found the boys perched on the edge of a healing stone. Molly was explaining to them the differences between men and women. She was doing a very good job of distracting them, while teaching them. There was so much they needed to understand. It was good to know I would have help.
A rustle of activity alerted me and more men were brought in injured. They were being laid on slabs and I knew Molly would be needed. We took our leave and let her get back to her new job.
Molly went right to work with Tyle's family on the badly wounded men. She was obviously trained and I got the feeling the Healers really appreciated her. Unlike me, she was not squeamish and did the job with confidence.
Mycah's family was content to color again in our original place. I looked them over and assumed it was Jonathan's and Aiden's age that had us confined to a sick bed. Compared to everyone else in here using a healing slab, my boys were in excellent condition.
Along the far walls I saw the make shift classroom that Kana and Rysell had set up. Older boys and men from the compounds sat and listened as the women talked.
I'd been vaguely aware of Damien and his Brothers all day. Most of the thoughts and emotions were geared to the hunt and occasional skirmishes with aliens. None of it had seemed overly concerning, so it was just background. I wasn't really listening and they weren't intentionally projecting.
The feeling of shame welled inside of me so suddenly it took me off guard. I wanted to hide under our stone. In all my life I'd never felt this embarrassed. It was like being caught masturbating by your grandmother. I was baffled as to where this feeling was coming from. Then I realized it was clearly the result of something happening to Damien and his Brothers.
"Mama, why is your face all red?" Jonathan asked standing right in front of me.
Niah stood right beside my son and he was also staring into my face. I looked like a familiar color to them. Rees could turn that shade in his cheeks, especially when he was upset. It wasn't like their stripes, this was different. They were very curious why I could turn the same color as their Brother.
Something my husbands had experienced had made them feel terribly humiliated, but I couldn't focus on them. The little boys were right in my face poking at my pink cheeks.
"It feels the same, only warmer," Niah said and the rest agreed with him.
They'd definitely seen this before, when Rees got red cheeks sometimes. The Child Keepers had thought it was illness, but the Healers said it wasn't.
"Why are they red?" Mycah asked reaching to pinch the cheek again.
"I felt...embarrassment," I said pushing them all back a little. "Humans get red in the face sometimes when they feel certain things."
That didn't explain to them why Rees would get the same way. I pulled the little boy toward me and examined his family mark.
"Rees had a human breeder in his line," I said pointing to the mark. "It was a long time ago, though."
The boys all looked at Rees' mark and then at each other's marks. Mycah was excited to find the same symbol on Jonathan. They couldn't understand why they all didn't have one. They wanted their marks to look the same. I was ready to explain when I sensed my family close.
Damien and his Brothers strode through the infirmary's entrance and I smiled broadly seeing them. I knew they weren't hurt, but it was good to be sure, nonetheless. Seeing them unscathed and dressed for battle made me feel better. It still wasn't clear what had made them so upset a little while ago.
I noted a second family following Damien and his Brothers. The second family all had long hair and their thick, leather coats looked to be for travel. Considering the thin layer of dirt coating them, they must have been traveling. Each of the five men carried a large bag over his shoulder, a sword on his back, and a gun at his waist. The family following my husbands looked as tough as Rayn and his family, but without the friendly smiles.
I got flashes of conversation bursting through the bond. Damien was ashamed and he didn't really want to show me what had happened. Secrets were not tolerated though and I felt him relent a moment before the men stopped in front of me.
"Rynal!!!" Aiden shouted jumping up and down on our stone.
The new men picked up our five little boys and examined them each thoroughly. The little ones reacted to these new faces like they'd been fast friends for ages. Mycah and his Brothers hugged their necks and kissed their cheeks. Jonathan tasted the man who held him, which didn't seem to bother the man at all. Aiden's hands immediately sought the long hair of his breeder and caressed the locks lovingly. The boys knew this family from Aiden's memory.
In my mind's eye, I saw the conversation.
"We do not enjoy being connected to SLAVERS!" they had roared when they'd met Damien and his Brothers in the transport storage area.
Aiden's male breeder and his Brothers had loudly bemoaned that they had to be linked through their boy to such dishonor. These men wanted their extended family to be honorable and noble. They would have to spend time with us and be close to us, because of our boys. Slavers were not what they would have chosen at all.
I stood and made up my mind to greet the new men. The best way to dispel their anger was to prove to them I was not a slave. They were obviously confused about this ongoing relationship.
"I am Ciara, from Earth," I said pleasantly to the man that appeared to be the lead Brother, he was holding Niah. "My mates are Damien and his Brothers. It is good to meet you all. Aiden has been asking for Rynal for ages."
Before the man had a chance to speak I rose on my tiptoes and brushed my lips against his cheek with a smile. I also hugged him lightly before backing away.
"It is how humans greet family," I explained as he looked quizzically down at me.
I explained hugging and kissing and then waited for the man to respond to me.
"I am Hodlen, born in the T'sparian Mountains," he said sounding surprised.
I moved from man to man and introduced myself. Each of the men got a kiss and a hug. I made eye contact and smiled congenially. I made sure my mannerisms were of anything but that of a slave. These new men Hodlen, Rynal, Spartian, Tos, and Kee seemed genuinely taken aback by the greeting.
I looked at their bags and noted the sleeping pads wrapped on top. These men had no place to stay and the camp was really crowded.
"Our bed is small," I offered politely, "but we would share with family. Would you stay with us?"
Damien had never felt more pride. I was acting exactly as I should. Our bed was mine to share and offering it to these men would be the honorable thing to do. They would have refused my husbands, but Damien had a feeling they would not refuse me.
"You must have been traveling a long time. I'm sure a bed would be a nice change. We would all fit and you would be more comfortable," Damien interjected politely.
Hodlen looked from Damien to me and I saw the first hint of a smile as he responded.
"We left our mountain with a group of twenty families coming this way as soon as the fighting in our area decreased. That was five day cycles ago," he said.
"The fighting ended sooner there?" I asked curiously.
The isolated mountain camp Hodlen and his Brothers had lived their life in had almost no ore. The dry barren area surrounding it had none at all. It was the perfect place to hide a camp because of that. The minimal aliens that had attacked that area had been quickly destroyed.