The New Girl
The new slave girl had been in the household for a couple of months, long enough for Leonien to be satisfied that she would be as loyal, obedient and trustworthy as the wretch who auctioned her off had promised. Belldancers from the former slave Verity’s stable did have that reputation.
He was old, his skin spotted and atrophied, his hair grizzled. Even his eyes had faded from their once vivid green colour to something closer to grey. He knew he was not exactly the kind of man a young woman would willingly be with, yet his heart still beat in his chest and his blood still pounded in his veins. His wife had been dead for many years, and he hadn’t survived this long by underestimating any of the noblewomen who thought they could get something from him in exchange for their bodies. There was something lacking from all the prostitutes that he had tried. Maybe it was that they obviously did it only for the money. And it wasn’t as if the slave girl had a choice. She was his, in body, mind and spirit.
She was skilled, this slave girl, and lovely, as all belldancers ought to be. A fine piece of tail indeed, and he hadn’t wasted much time before enjoying her to her fullest extent. If her eyes sometimes flashed when he called her ‘girl,’ (he never called her by her name; couldn’t even remember it half the time), she never complained. He liked that she still had a bit of spirit, buried deep.
Reclining against his pillows, he watched her ruby lips slip up and down his cock. Her hair was long and jet black, a common colour in Saraknyel, but her skin was her real beauty. Carved with scalpels into vines and flowers, it held not a hint of grey. She was pure human, or near enough that whatever Shadow Plane blood she might have had was hopelessly diluted by time, something of a rarity after centuries of rule by and intermarriage with the Shadar-kai. In the eternal, artificial darkness of Saraknyel, she had never been touched by the sun. Like fine marble, her skin was pale and delicately veined with blue. When he touched those veins, he could feel the wild fluttering of her pulse, a poignant reminder of the frailty of life. He had seen so many veins emptied on Vrag’s altar.
He was old and it took a while, even for a slave trained as she was, to elicit much of a response. He was patient, though. He had all night, and he enjoyed just watching her.
Suddenly, and much to his annoyance, she stopped. "Did you hear that?"
"The only thing I hear is the sound of your lips flapping, when they should be sucking."
Chastised, she bent her head back to her work. He watched her only long enough to verify that she had settled back obediently into the rhythm of sucking him off, before closing his eyes to savour the pleasant heat and tension that were building up within his loins.
He was very nearly at his climax when he felt her pull away from him once more, leaving his saliva-drenched shaft exposed to the air and chilly. Irritated beyond words, he opened his eyes to cuff her - he had never known her performances to be so dissatisfactory! At the same time he was startled by a brief and rapid jingling sound. Her bells! Her bells never rang, not since he had known her.
It took only a moment for him to grasp what was happening. She was up and moving with lightning speed. "Master! Roll left!" He rolled onto his side, cursing as his turgid cock slammed into the mattress. Candlelight glinted off a blade as he made it to his feet and drew breath to shout for his guards.
A shout that, incidentally, never made it past his lips. The girl was locked in a lethal dance with one of them. He could see something dark on his bodyguard’s blade - poison. Fully armed and armoured, the guard had every advantage over this naked, diminutive slave girl. One nick of her beautiful skin and that would be it – thousands of gold Imperials down the drain. Yet if one guard had betrayed him, how could he be sure the others would not?
Helplessly, but with a dawning amazement, he watched the fight play out. She could move, that girl. He knew that from her dancing already, but this was something else to watch, entirely. She was fast and she darted in and out, raining blow after blow down on her much larger opponent. Her hands, as soft as he knew they were, had to be bruised by the strength of those blows. He saw her violently twist the guard’s wrist and had to duck as the poisoned dagger flew past him and clattered against the wall. Almost faster than he could follow, she was behind her opponent now and had her hands on either side of his head.
"Don’t!" Leonien cried, but it was too late. He heard the sickening crunch of bone as she displaced the man’s vertebrae. She let him go and he fell to the floor in a limp pile of loose, twitching limbs. He watched her stand there, her sides heaving with exertion.
He was rather alarmed that he had been alone with her so many times.
"I would have liked to question him, find out who put him up to this." Cowed by his displeasure, the girl’s shoulders slumped and she sank to the floor herself.
"I’m sorry, master." He could barely make out her words and almost regretted his own.
"No matter. There are spells." She nodded almost imperceptibly. "Are all of Verity’s belldancers taught to fight the way you do? One would think that would be an additional, I don’t know, selling point?" he added dryly.
She turned to look up at him. "We’re all taught some self-defense... to fight off the poachers." He knew she was referring to the handful of people who might be tempted to kill a belldancer for her valuable bells. "Some of us take to it better than others." He smiled as some of her spirit crept back into her voice and the set of her shoulders. He took a few steps round the bed so that he could see which guard now lay cooling on his floor. Nudging the corpse gently with his foot to get a better view, he glanced at his slave.
"What is your name, girl?"
She looked surprised. "Ysstvelt."
"Ysstvelt, did he nick you? The blade was poisoned."
She looked startled. "He may have... I felt something when he first attacked..." She reached up to rub at something that was smeared across her face. Leonien was relieved to see that it was not thin and red like blood. Ysstvelt smiled as she slowly licked his jizz off one delicately extended finger.
Yes, Leonien thought. This girl was a keeper.