Sacrifice Ch. 03bypandarus©
Calliope woke early. She knew it was still near first light because Thelios lay asleep beside her, sprawled out on his back, his thick chest rising and falling in a lazy tempo. She rose, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and washed up quickly and quietly as to not disturb him. She cast a quick glance back into the room before slipping out into the hall and making her way to the kitchen where she found Demitri just beginning his day. He looked up at her and nodded before returning to the shelves he was fiddling with.
"Morning." He muttered without looking back up.
"Good morning. Does he take a meal in the morning as well?" She asking, thinking to preemptively assist. He shook his head.
"I only feed him once a day...if that. He's on his own the rest of the time." She looked at him a little askew though with some amusement.
"You make him sound like a pet." He shrugged and pulled a set of mean looking knives off of a shelf.
"Feels like that...from time to time." He glanced at her again, and she could see a twitch of a smile momentarily later his gruff expression.
"What are those for?" She pointed at the knives he was now laying out on the work table.
"That's morbid...and unsettling."She screwed up her her nose.
"Have to eat."
"Well, there's no need to be graphic about it." She murmured primly.
He grinned at her and chuckled.
"What should I do today? Anything I can help you with?"
"Haven't swept or filled the oil lamps."
She nodded. "Consider it done."
"There's some bread and cheese and fruit over there if you're hungry. Just help yourself from now on. You'll figure out were everything is once you start poking around a bit. Oh, and what do you intend to do with those?" He pointed to a neatly folded pile of clothing she'd placed in a corner on a bench.
"I don't know," she said, picking them up, "I didn't have anywhere else to put them."
"You still have that key?"
She did. Calliope nodded.
"Second door to the right is an empty room."
"What is it?"
"Yours...if you want it."
"The master won't mind?"
"What does he care?" She didn't have an answer for that. This sounded true enough, she really couldn't see Thelios fretting over something like that. She smiled to herself, 'fretting' wasn't actually a word she could see applying to him in any circumstance really.
She hadn't been around long, and still knew very little about either of these men, but she didn't see either of them as being terribly fussy. Which really, made for a much more relaxing atmosphere than she had been used to at home. Her mother and sisters had all been very particular about things being just-so, and her brothers demanding. She wouldn't call this carefree, but it was a darn sight closer to be sure. As far as she could see they both seemed more interesting in the practicality and functionality of things, something and couldn't help but approve of. Vain and excessive women were bad enough, their male counterparts were, in Calliope's mind, intolerable.
The room was empty save for a small table and a built in bench along the wall, following the same simple design as the rest of the rooms. There was no where to put the clothes however. She remembered the chest where she found the clothes in the room with all the treasures, and thought she might remove it to this room as well. The apparent indifference of Demitri suggested it wouldn't be a problem, and the layer of dust she'd noticed on the chest itself indicated that no one else was using it anyway. She added a bowl and pitcher from the kitchen and a few skins she got from Demitri, and, she noted with satisfaction, had herself the beginnings of a comfortable and functional space.
By the afternoon Calliope found herself with little left to do. The master had left at some point while she'd begun sweeping. After that she'd filled the lamps, beaten out the rest of the skins and scrubbed down the floors in the main living spaces. Most of it was easy and quickly finished as Demitri had clearly kept up with his work, and it was done with more than enough time to spare. She was heading back into the cave with water to boil for a bath when she heard a throat clear behind her. She set down the water and turned expecting the master and blinked in surprise when she saw a stranger instead. It was a man, similar in appearance and dress to Demitri, if a little less rough, but, she thought, there was an unnameable something in his mannerisms which disconcerted her. She decided it would be rude to let that show.
"Hello, how do you do?" Her voice was softened with surprise, but she retained her composure enough to hide her discomfort, displaying only mild disinterest, what she thought becoming in a servant.
"Hello there. Don't remember seeing you here before, lovely. Not that that's a problem." he leered at her and she felt her hackles raise a little in response, but ignored the sensation. "I'm here with the delivery...should I...give it to you." He continued with an obvious wink, still looking her over.
'Crass idiot', she thought, covering a grimace with a tight smile.
"I will fetch the master's servant for you." She replied with a polite head bow, choosing to ignore his inelegant come-on. The man moved closer, and she resisted the urge to step back.
"If you're not the servant, what are you?" His leer was starting to make her decidedly uncomfortable.
"A slave only." she murmured. The words rang strangely in her ears and made her stomach twist a little. Maybe Thelios had been right the night before. The man startled her out of her veering thought by grabbing her roughly by the chin and tilting her head to get a better look at her face, as if handling a mare in the market.
"Aren't you a pretty thing. Wonder where your master could have found you." This time she did step back, tearing herself away from his grasp and giving him an unrepressed look of horror. "Calm down pet." He reached out again and grabbed her wrist, jerking her towards him to prevent her from escaping and causing her body to be pressed suddenly tight up against his.
She barely resisted the urge to slap him hard across the face, managing at the last moment to remember herself, and her position, and remained calm. She couldn't keep the venom out of her voice though, nor did she try to. She rose up to her full height and squared her shoulders, tilting her head so that she could look down her nose at the slightly taller man, a maneuver her mother had perfected and passed on to her daughters.
"Remove your hand at once." She hissed in her most imperious voice, and reclaimed her hand with her most scathing glare, snatching her arm away with a jerk. He released her and gave her a sinister look.
"Awfully proud for a slave girl." He sneered. "Someone needs to teach you some respect for your betters."
How dare he! She felt the color rise in her face but kept her mouth shut by clenching her jaw, knowing arguing with the likes of him was an ineffective use of her time. She wanted him out of her sight, and the fastest way to achieve that was to remove herself.
"If you'll excuse me, I'll fetch the servant for you."She picked up her water again and disappeared into the hall before he tried grabbing her again and found Demitri in the kitchen.
"There's some odious person in the cavern wanting to make a delivery. I presume you know what for." He nodded and looked at her curiously.
"Yes. Kindly tell me where he'll be."
"So I can be elsewhere." She plopped onto one of the stools and glared at the table top.
Demitri said nothing and left. When he returned he was grinning.
"Doesn't sound like he liked you much either. Thought I should beat you for your impertinence."
"Why that..." the heat rose to her cheeks again and she suppressed her anger once more "...fool." She ended lamely. It wasn't the word she was going to say, but that wouldn't have been appropriate for a lady of good breeding and standing...or at least a former lady of standing. The feeling she'd had when she'd described herself as a slave returned again, pestering her.
She'd managed not to think about the previous night, and her little outburst, but that horses ass had brought it to the forefront of her mind once more. Well it hadn't been him really, but it pleased her to blame him nonetheless.
All day she'd busied herself as best she could, but now as she sat watching Demitri prepare the evening meal, she had nothing to do but think. Perhaps he was right, that she was upset that she was a slave, without power. Her reaction to describing herself as such supported the idea. Yet... something was still not quite right. As thought this were only a part of it, if that at all...but she couldn't tell what else it might be. His theory was the logical one. Perhaps if she just accepted it...then again, she'd thought she already had. She sighed inwardly and hoped silently that she hadn't irritated the master too much with her uncharacteristic simpering. He didn't like weeping and other such nonsense, and though he'd been sporting about it, she had no desire to push her luck.
She'd not seen him since, and had no idea what his mood might be. 'How could I tell anyway, I've only been here a couple of days,' she mused. She brooded over the table considering how it was she was going to solve the dilemma.
Demitri worked silently, ignoring her and letting her turn over her thoughts. When he finished and delivered his food to the dining room, she stirred herself as well and delivered her hot water next door.
She paused at the door to her new room on the way back on impulse, remembering the skimpy slave-girl clothing she'd found in the chest. A sudden burst of inspiration struck her and Calliope decided that it might be used to improve his mood if it truly did need improving. And who knows, she thought as she fingered a bit of golden, diaphanous fabric, maybe dressing the part might lend her a sense of acceptance and quash whatever silly unreasonable sensibility was gnawing away at her gut. She was here now, she was what she was, and that was that. There was no reason to waste more time in contemplation, and so she didn't.
The fabric was somewhat opaque at least, she noted once it was on, and it did cover the most embarrassing parts of her body modestly enough...though just barely. She blushed hotly looking down at the expansive slit cut between the valley of her breasts and part way down her stomach, the fabric meeting just above the navel only to cleave itself at the sides instead, making the material swish between her legs when she walked, exposing her legs to the hip. She ran the back of a hand down one long naked thigh, still smooth since the last time she'd used sugar gum on them, and felt shivering tentacles of sensation run along her leg to her groin. She unpinned her hair so that only the sides were pulled up and the rest floated down her back and over her shoulders.
If this doesn't make him happy, nothing will, she mused, and willed her self-consciousness into submission, as well as her burgeoning arousal. It would ruin the effect if she went around meekly blushing like a trembling little girl. She armed herself with a pitcher of wine from the kitchen and was just about to make her entrance when she paused at the door to slow her racing heart and overheard them talking.
"He said you should beat her, then she'd learn a thing or two." The words froze her in her tracks, it was Demitri's voice.
"Is that so."
"Indeed. Even offered to do it himself."
She steeled herself, her back straightening, and did her best impression of a mild, relaxed smile. Even if she was feeling anything but.
Demitri was sitting where she had sat her first night, and was pulling at a hunk of bread, which, she noted with satisfaction, froze in mid tear as she slid through the partially open door. Thelios held a glass of wine part way to his lips, and ever so slowly put it down as she calmly advanced offering the wine in her hands. She held the carafe aloft a few moments before he waved a decline. She smiled softly, doing her best not to give herself away as she felt his eyes graze her skin, setting her on fire wherever they lighted.
She turned away.
"Demitri?" She proffered the jug again. Very slowly he pushed his glass forward and she filled it, setting the jug on the table and stepping back, folding her hands before her with as demure a look as she could muster.
Thelios cleared his throat.
"Will you join us?" The thickness in his voice sent a wave of triumphant elation through her. She tried not to smile too much."Demitri tells me you made a new friend today." She may have been smiling but he wasn't. Her elation died a little. She adjusted herself on a cushion next to, but no too near, the master and gave Demitri a quick partially veiled look before clearing her own throat.
"If the Gods are kind, it will be a short acquaintance." She couldn't bring herself to look at the master, but Demitri was barely restraining a grin.
"I trust you weren't impolite?" Her stomach flip flopped a little. It was maddening how unsettled he made her feel. She wasn't used to being phased all the time. She wasn't used to being phased at all. As casually as she could she reached in front of him and stole his cup.
"I didn't strike him. I think that was very polite of me. Though I will admit to being somewhat terse." She took a long sip and glanced again at Demitri who was watching with interest with those piercing eyes of his.
"I can't imagine what he might have done to deserve rudeness." Her ire rose faster than she could control it.
"Can you not?" She turned to Thelios, inflamed and ready to defend herself with proverbial claws if necessary. He was looking back at her. His face was cool, and serious, but his eyes were gentle, incredibly gentle. She melted instantly and her words died dryly in her throat. He wasn't angry then, or contemplating beating her.
She felt the air let out of her, "I'm sorry,"she breathed, before looking away, suddenly guilty and embarrassed for having been affronted and turning her anger on him. "I just don't think anyone should be treated disrespectfully. Regardless." She explained and looked back up to his face. "I've always been irritated by those who don't treat slaves like people." She smiled a bit and her voice took on a sardonic note. "Especially when they don't even belong to them."
He leaned over a little and plucked his cup back out of her hand, brushing his arm against hers and sending a shiver up her spine.
Demitri leaned forward."What did he do anyway?"
She tore her eyes from Thelios and took a bit of bread and cheese, feeling relaxed enough to eat at last. "Well the rudeness and leering made me civil rather than friendly...but being manhandled always makes me lose my temper."
"What did you say?"
"Nothing really, just pulled away, and when he persisted, told him to remove his hand at once."
"But what did you say?"
"Just that. Word for word."
"How disappointing, He made it sound like you took a swing, or at least were terribly insulting."
"I'll try harder next time." She half grinned at him.
"Do." The masters voice sounded dark and she looked back at him. He looked angry and she felt instantly uneasy again. Her grin faded.
"I don't think you'll have to worry about a next time anyway." Demitri interjected lightly. They both looked at him. "I figured he'd done something rash and made a grab at you, so I told him" he paused to chuckle to himself, "I said to him" and here he looked very stern and put on brusque airs, "I hope you didn't touch her, whatever you did. The monster, my master, ain't posh like the rest of 'em, and has a nose like a hound, so when he catches a sent he doesn't like on his things, he'll hunt down the owner and tear 'im limb from limb. He's a mean vicious beast that way, he is." He stopped again laughing and wiped a little moisture from his eye. Seemingly finding this terribly funny. "Then I added some gruesome details about foot long fangs and what not. The look on his face made my week."
Calliope looked at him in disbelief. Had he just called the master a monster to his face, and a beast? She checked Thelios's reaction only to find him smiling in grim appreciation of the story.
"So," Demitri continued, "I told him to let others his way know the score and keep to themselves." He winked at her. "I'd wager everything he'll not be coming himself next time." He looked a little more seriously at her. "In all seriousness though, turn about is fair play."
"I wasn't really raised that way." She smiled self-consciously.
"Then consider it a command." She blinked and looked up at Thelios who was giving her a rather stern look. She nodded, swallowing hard. After a moment she excused herself and fetched the rest of the hot water, remembering herself enough to swish her hips on the way out.
He wasn't in the bath yet, so she readied clothes and soap, wishing he'd hurry, as the longer she waited the more nervous she became. Finally he entered, tossing his wrap off to the side unceremoniously and stepped into the bath.
He was already mast hard and slid his eyes appreciatively over her fairly exposed form. She didn't look away this time, but she could feel the blood rush to her face and breast. She blushed too easily, and in this dress it became a full body blush. Of course that thought only made her heat up that much more.
Her mouth was dry again as she approached kneeling next to him, beginning the same process as the first night. He remained silent, and she could think of nothing to say. What's more her near bare breasts kept brushing his back as she worked making her nipples harden and ache, distracting her terribly. Her attention was otherwise occupied with the defined ridges of his arms, the solid mass of steely muscle under cool skin that was his back, and the throat tightening view between his thighs.
By the time she'd tired her fingers out she was embarrassingly aroused and found herself squeezing her thighs together in a vain attempt to alleviate the aching of her sex. It only seemed to make it worse. She felt frustrated and what's more, irritated. It wasn't as if he was even doing anything to excite her, just ...sitting there...naked...and hard and...glistening. She was breathing rapidly and couldn't stop herself from running her fingers over the smooth, oddly pronounced tendons at the back of his neck, or from remembering, vividly, last nights rather vigorous activities.
He must have felt the change in her touch, because he turned his head to look at her out of the corner of his eye. She stood and moved to the side of the bath, putting him out of reach. All she could think about was sliding her hands over that broad chest again, feeling the muscles bunch and flex, and his huge, rough hands gripping her body. The expression on his face, however, was anything but inviting. So she stood, and waited, torturing herself with her thoughts.
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, master." She wondered if he was referring to her odd behavior from the night before.
"You look upset." She blinked. That was hardly the word she'd use to describe her current state.
"Do I, master?" She asked slightly dazed.
"Are you still upset about that man?" His face darkened again when he mention it.
"No, Master. It slipped my mind."
"Yes, master." He quirked an eyebrow at her.
"Is that all your going to say to me now...yes, master?"
She paused and her lips twitched. "Yes, Master."
He smiled back."Is this" he gestured to her vaguely "because of last night?"
She paused again, thinking about it. "Partially. Yes."
"Yes, what?" He smiled more fully at her.
"Yes, Master." She said coyly, deepening her voice a little.