tagNonHumanSlavery Ch. 12

Slavery Ch. 12

bypoison_alice©

Apologies for the delay, and thanks for coming back! My workload has been crazy; clearly the summer holidays lulled me into a false sense of security. Still, the marking and planning has hit me full force! I shall try to post every two weeks. I am aiming for the next post to be the first weekend of October. This chapter is shorted than I intended, but the next one will be longer.

*

Alana crept through the corridor, hoping that she was about to enter the dining room. The last thing she wanted was to stumble into someone's bedroom. As she eased through the door, something crashed against the floor near her feet. She jumped backwards, watching in horror as either Neekesh or Brint was hitting the other brother over the head with one of the pink stone goblets. The brother on the receiving end howled, tacking the first brother to the floor.

"Ignore the fuckers, I do." Alana actually screamed as Harold spoke behind her. He pushed past her and into the room. Her scream had stopped the fighting at least. Both brothers were tangled together, staring at her.

"Sorry," she muttered, following Harold into the room. He grabbed her wrist and dragged her to the bench closest to the fire.

"Sit down. He said he'd feed me to the fire if I let you freeze. Don't know who the fuck he thinks he is after being away all these years." Harold glared at Alana a moment before he knelt to light the fire. It had been cleaned out since the previous evening, and new wood was in place and ready to burn. The brothers had disentangled and came to join her, one sitting on a bench, the other dragging cushions to the floor.

"Don't listen to him, Alana. He's glad you're here really. Things are way more interesting. How bad did he hurt you, by the way?" Brint spewed the words out far too fast. He seemed to be in a constant state of excitement. It turned out that he was the one on the floor.

"Harold? Harold hasn't hurt me," Alana laughed, wondering if they had mistaken her scream of fright for one of pain.

"Kalen, you idiot," his tone clearly said he thought she was lacking a few brain cells for even considering that he meant Harold.

"He didn't, I'm fine." Alana had blushed though. She stroked one of her arms through her dress, lightly touching the bruise. She watched as Neekesh stood, then walked over to her. He roughly grabbed the neckline of her dress and yanked. It didn't tear, but moved enough to reveal the marks from Kalen's biting.

"These are fresh." He stated, then went to sit back down. When Brint rolled his eyes at his brother, Alana couldn't help her laughter. Neekesh was grumpy, rude, and surly. She knew he wasn't being mean to her, but treated everyone like that.

"Not too angry with you then," Brint winked.

"Where is he, anyway?" Alana asked, desperately wanting to change the subject. She hadn't forgotten that the race liked to bite during intimate moments, but she had forgotten that the rest of them would know that. She was so used to people seeing Kalen's bite marks as a cruelty, that the thought of people knowing it was because they had been 'together' made her squirm.

"The three of them have gone hunting. Mother wants to sort them out before you cause any more rows. I haven't seen Olivine so mad since he left. She wanted to kill him for the way he hauled you away last night." Brint was grinning like Christmas had come early. Alana thought about what he had said; if Olivine was so quick to temper about things that Kalen did, she would have to be incredibly careful.

"What do I call your mother?" It had been something that Alana had wondered about. Their mother was the only person who hadn't been introduced.

"Mother, like us. Even old Harold calls her that when he's sucking up." Alana smiled. Harold chucked a fur at her. The fire had roared into life, and she was surrounded by friendly banter. This was the best her life had been for a while.

"Brint, do you know if there are any other humans here? Kalen said most homes have slaves." Much to Alana's surprise, it was Neekesh that answered.

"There are no other humans. Humans die here." Alana looked at him, shocked with his bluntness. Brint shifted uncomfortably, and Harold took his cue to leave.

"What do you mean? Why do they die?" Alana hugged the fur closer to her, her eyes glued to the quietest member of the family.

"The temperature is too cold, our illnesses are too destructive, our babies rip you apart..." He trailed off, looking bored of the conversation already. Alana felt numb.

"There have been humans before, then?"

"Sure. In the last few years, humans have been everywhere. You are quite the popular species you know. You develop space travel, and suddenly everyone wants a piece of you. There are people who would kill to get their hands on you, study you. Not on this planet, but elsewhere." Neekesh stopped and studied Alana's face. "Fear, tinged with sorrow. Am I right brother?"

"Stop it, just stop it," snapped Brint. He rose to his feet and stormed from the room. Alana thought it was a bit of an overreaction, and wondered if it had something to do with their earlier fight.

"Am I right, Alana? That's how you're feeling?" He had no emotion in his voice at all.

"You missed shocked." Alana's voice didn't sound all that different. "I guess that explains Jaron," she continued, forgetting that Neekesh wouldn't know he was. He surprised her, though.

"I told Kalen that was why he got you. Jaron was fascinated by humans. You know, Alana, you're a protected species. There are strict guidelines on how many humans can be taken per year, and there are special circumstances they have to be taken in. So, were you being killed, or killing someone?"

"I was killing myself."

"I hadn't thought of that. I guess that fits both categories."

"You were going to kill yourself?" Kalen's voice rang out behind her. It sounded harsh. Alana decided she really should start paying better attention to her surroundings, but damn these people moved silently. His presence annoyed her a little. She wanted answers from Neekesh, and knew if she asked Kalen he would skirt around the subject, and distract her.

"Yes, I was killing myself. That's when they took me. I thought at first that I had died. Sometimes I still wonder if I did." Alana met Kalen's eyes for a moment before he turned and left without another word.

"What was that about?" Alana asked Neekesh. In response he shrugged, and then he left her alone. At least, Alana was alone momentarily.

"Are you hurt?" It was Olivine.

"No, I'm fine. We sorted things out quickly." Alana gave the woman a genuine smile. The last person she had imagined being friends with was her lover's wife. Inwardly, she felt quite satisfied that she really was his lover now, not just his slave although in the end she supposed it was just semantics. Nothing would really change.

"Good," Olivine nodded, "because I would hate for you to suffer at his hands due to my behaviour. I find myself wanting to protect you, Alana. You are a lovely woman." Olivine was so forthright that Alana couldn't quite meet her gaze.

"Thank you," she blushed, "but I have Kalen."

"Yes, she does." It seemed Kalen was back again. This time he came fully into the room, and sat down next to Alana. He pulled his tunic over his head then cuddled her against him. "Even so," he continued, "it will be my wife who looks after you later. She has asked if she may take you out, and I agreed. That is, if it is pleasing to you?" For a moment Alana wondered if she were being tricked.

"It would be nice to explore," she replied.

"Then it's settled. I will trust you, wife, to keep her safe."

To say the afternoon was bitterly cold would be an understatement. Alana whimpered against Olivine's chest as she carried her towards the shuttle. Whilst they walked, Alana thought back to the conversation she had had with Kalen before they left. Alana had thought him angry with her, but it turned out that wasn't the case.

"I'm angry with myself, Alana," he had said. His fingers had dug into the bruises on her arms as he held her. He seemed desperate to show her how he felt. "I hate the thought that you were so miserable that you would take your own life."

Cupping Kalen's face, Alana had kissed him. "Things are different now," she had reassured him.

"I can't let you become unhappy again if that is your reaction. I can't confine you to the house because I am jealous of your attention. When I overheard you, I went to speak with Olivine. She had offered to accompany you somewhere whilst I was busy, and I refused her. It was petty of me. Just because she irritates me doesn't mean you can't enjoy spending time with her."

The conversation had given Alana a warm, glowy feeling. She was now determined to do something for Kalen in return. As they entered the shuttle, Olivine pointed Alana in the direction of the control. She jotted down co-ordinates on a pad, and settled back in a chair.

"I'm not good at flying," Olivine said after Alana questioned why she was allowed to fly. Alana had been surprised. As the shuttled took off, Alana felt the thrill of being in control. It was an illusion though as it was a mystery to Alana where they were going; she was no more in control here than she had been previously.

"Olivine?" She asked tentatively. When Olivine quirked an eyebrow, Alana carried on. "I wanted to buy Kalen a gift." Alana genuinely hoped that Olivine could offer some suggestions.

"You wish to reward him for his idiocy?" Olivine's voice held disbelief, something that made Alana feel a little stupid.

"He let me come this afternoon," she explained. Olivine sighed and nodded. She closed her eyes and said no more on the subject, but Alana thought that maybe she had agreed.

Alana had been surprised to land the shuttle in the middle of nowhere. For miles either side of them there was nothing but snow. Butterflies fluttered around Alana's stomach as she pulled on the extra layers that Olivine had for her. There was no way that she would survive outside for long. Surely Olivine knew that.

As the door to the shuttle opened, bitter wind whooshed in. Olivine quickly gathered Alana's shuddering body into her arms. The descended the stairs quickly, Alana hiding her face against the fabric that clothed the huge woman's chest.

"Where are we going?" Alana asked through chattering teeth. Olivine didn't reply, but instead crouched down. She brushed the loose, powdery snow aside to reveal a metal hatch. Alana didn't see how it was opened, she was too busy cowering, but she certainly felt the hot, humid air as it rose from the depths below them. Even as Alana wriggled to get a better view of where they were going, Olivine turned and descended into the hole. It seemed that there were ladders, the rungs of which were too far apart for a human to use.

A few rungs down, Olivine paused. Alana could hear a computerised beeping, but all she could see was Olivine's tunic.

"What's happening?" Her teeth were chattering less as the air warmed her exposed skin.

Alana could hear the smile in Olivine's voice as she replied, "Parking the shuttle." Olivine turned Alana, then climbed up the rungs again. Alana was in time to see the shuttle descending on a platform beneath the snow. Once Alana's wonder was replaced by shivering, they once again started to descend.

At the bottom of the ladder, after depositing many of their layers in a sort of locker room, Alana was nothing short of awestruck. There, beneath the frozen, desolate land above, was a wonderland of stalls, shops and pubs. The cobbled street was teeming with life, the roof above arched over them, painted a soft pink. Alana was that focussed on taking in all the details of this unexpected place that it took her a while to notice that she was the subject of just as much curiosity.

Olivine's arm snaked around her shoulders, and Alana was guided through the crowds. They parted, like the fabled red sea, so they could get a better look. She felt tiny, vulnerable. For the first time she really thought about Neekesh's comment about her value.

"I know the perfect place for Kalen's gift," Olivine said. The woman had to lean down so that Alana could hear her. The street around them was noisy as people haggled, laughed, staggered, and did all of the things that you would expect to see in a busy city centre. They wound their way through the shoppers until they came to a dingy, musty looking shop. When they entered, Alana wasn't at all surprised to smell the unmistakeable smell of lots of old books. She had never been a big book lover, but her mother had been.

"He likes to read?" Alana felt unsure. It was not something that she had known about Kalen. She wondered what else he had managed to hide from her.

"He likes to study," Olivine replied. To Alana, that seemed even more surprising. He had seemed so much the warrior until now, that Alana briefly wondered if Olivine had thought she meant another brother. No, she chided herself, Olivine was Kalen's wife. Of course she would know such things about him. Alana followed Olivine through the shop to a section at the very back. The books looked thicker, heavier, more serious.

"Are these academic books?" Alana asked. Her eyes were wide at the sheer volume and variety that were being presented to her. She had no way to choose something. She realised, somewhat sadly, that it wouldn't be a gift from her, not really. Olivine nodded absentmindedly as she skim read the titles before her. Smiling to herself, she picked a book up, then handed it to Alana.

"Olivine," she said, a little nervously, "I was hoping to choose something myself. You know, make the gift personal."

"You can get him this, and pick something else as well if it will please you." Alana nodded, pleased with the solution. "You will have to ask him for money of your own," Olivine continued. Alana's cheeks flushed as she realised that Olivine would be buying the gifts, also.

"I'm so sorry, I just didn't think. It's been so long since I had money," Alana babbled. Olivine just waved her protests away as she approached the counter.

The owner of the bookstore seemed fascinated with Alana. Before Olivine could hand over the money to pay with, he had rounded the counter to tower over Alana. As Alana studied him, much in the way he studied her, she realised that he looked just as much the warrior as did Kalen and the rest. He wore simple clothes, but in no way did he look bookish. Alana wondered if fought often, or if his muscles had been developed in a gym. She made a mental not to ask Olivine.

The man before her grabbed her hand, startling Alana out of her thoughts. She blushed as the man stroked the skin on her hand wondrously.

"I did not think I would ever see a human in my shop," the man stated excitedly. With Alana's hand still firmly in his, he turned to a bemused Olivine. "I have read so much about them. Is it possible that she is for sale?" Alana blanched at the suggestion, but Olivine just smiled kindly.

"She is my husbands's lover." The man looked crestfallen. He dropped Alana's hand quickly, and almost scuttled back behind the counter. It was bizarre watching a man that big move like that, thought Alana.

"May I offer her a gift?" Alana blushed as the man lifted a beautifully decorated book from under the counter. He held it expectantly in his hands. Olivine nodded her consent, and out he came again, excitedly presenting his gift to Alana. She took it gratefully, reading the gilded title on the front.

"It's a study of our species," he gushed, clearly pleased with himself. Alana couldn't help but smile. It was a useful gift.

"Thank you," Alana said, somewhat timidly. His enthusiasm unnerved her a little. It seemed to unnerve Olivine too, who thanked the man quickly, passing him the money she owed, then ushering Alana out of the door.

"Will it always be like that?" Alana asked breathlessly.

"No, he's always been an eccentric." Olivine wrapped her arm around Alana, guiding her once more through the crowd. Alana clutched her book. It was almost too large to carry, and certainly was heavy, but it was hers. There wasn't much that she could say that about.

After visiting several stalls where Olivine bought things for herself, Alana finally find a gift that she wanted to buy Kalen. Olivine had seemed pleased with her choice, and happily paid for the small item. The gift was a small silver broach. It was shaped like a scimitar, an almost exact replica of Kalen's sword. The broach was studded with small diamond-like stones that glistened in the light streaming from the fixtures above.

Alana had been pleased that Olivine had been correct, and that no more undue attention had been pointed her way, apart from the staring. They walked slowly back to the entrance to the market, working their way through the crowd as Alana gazed at all of the sights. It was only when they arrived at huge building that Alana realised that their trip wasn't quite over.

Entering the building, Alana was surprised by the humidity of the air. There was so much moisture that she found it hard to breathe. Steam escaped in clouds from a propped open door. Alana watched as a naked woman emerged, her body long and muscular. She raised a hand to Olivine, then walked through a second door.

Olivine and Alana followed the woman, entering a room full of shelves. On most of the shelves were dark, fluffy towels. There were some which had folded clothes on, however.

"We will bathe, Alana. You must undress." Alana was somewhat aghast by the idea of baring her pale, fleshy body in front of a bath full of stunning women. As Olivine started to undress herself, Alana felt like she had little choice. Her stomach churned as she pulled her clothes over her head. Clutching her naked body, Alana stepped back as Olivine organised their clothes. She expected to be handed a towel, but the towel stayed in place.

Noticing Alana's gaze, Olivine smiled kindly, "you won't need it until you are clean." Alana nodded. She didn't trust herself to speak as she followed Olivine to the pool.

The air, if possible, became even more humid. Alana was glad for the heat, even though it was moist. She felt shivery, though she knew it was only nerves. Descending the steps into the water, Alana realised that the people using the pool were all female. She had expected some males to be present, had counted on it almost. Whilst she felt self-conscious before the women, most men that she encountered seemed to appreciate her generous curves.

"Where are all the men?" She asked. Her voice sounded shaky.

"Today is a day for women. I always meet my lover here." Alana felt her eyes widen at Olivine's casual response. She was about to meet her lover! Alana hadn't been aware that Olivine had one. It wasn't long before she was introduced to the woman.

"Akia, meet Alana. She is my husband's lover." The woman, who was just as statuesque as Olivine, embraced Alana. Her slippery body felt pleasant beneath Alana's fingers, and for the first time she could see how women might find each other attractive. Still, it wasn't something she was interested in.

"Alana," Olivine started after the women had swam for a while, "I wondered if you would be comfortable alone for a few moments?" Alana gave her consent to be left, a little embarrassed that she hadn't thought about it before. Of course the women would want some time alone, she thought.

Alana swam, undisturbed, enjoying the heat. The water was warmer than body temperature; after the bitter cold of outside, Alana could have spent all day chasing the chill from her bones. It was only when she started to draw a small crowd that she decided to find Olivine and Akia. They had left the pool and, after quick investigation, Alana found they weren't in the changing rooms, either. Panic was starting to build inside Alana at the idea of being abandoned. She hurried aimlessly through the building looking for Olivine desperately. She had all but given up when she found a series of alcoves leading off a hallway.

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