| The cold drip of water enters my dazed consciousness first as feeling slowly returns to my body. A wet trail snakes down my right cheek leaving the taste of brackish water on my lips, sluggishly my mind tells my hand to wipe away the slimy mess. Reality returns swiftly in a painful jolt as I find my hands tied behind my back. The ropes are tight around my wrists with ruff fibers scratching against delicate skin, making them feel hot and raw. A soft whimper escapes me as my eyes try to penetrate the darkness pressing against them, twisting, trying to look at my surroundings a shiver wracks my body as fear eats at my confused thoughts. The constant drip of water and the stale, stagnate air, tell me I am no longer on the forest road, the scrabbling of little clawed feet against stone makes my skin itch with revulsion. I find my ankles are also tied, my hands and feet seeming to be connected by a short length of rope between them. Lying on my left side the pain in my bent knees makes me pull against my bonds, trying to straiten them brings an equally fiery pain to my stiff shoulders. Moaning, the pain making me light headed, I try to puzzle out what happened.
The last thing I remember is the Temple and the excitement of being sent out on my first pilgrimage with Head Sister Ivy and three others to the main Temple in the great forest city of Rathone. The mules were loaded as Sister Jasmine gave me last minute instructions on my duties during the long trip. I was to care for the mules that would carry our meager possessions and the offerings of our Temple.
I remember lectures from the older Sisters on how to behave outside of the Temple, now that I have come of age for initiation into the order, about not letting a man see me bathing in the rivers we would pass on our way to Rathone. They warned again of not letting my curiosity get me into any more trouble and of not straying from the protection of the other sisters on the long road to the city. They seemed over protective, but being an orphan and given to the Temple as a baby twenty years ago I had never been around men. I always tried to hide my curiosity, our order being open only for women. What had happened? Where were my other Sisters?
Shuddering, a sick feeling settles in my stomach at the memory of the mules, my mind cowering away from the knowledge, knowing they had something to do with my current situation. Looking around, I find my eyes have gotten use to the darkness, I see a pale glow forming a square outline on one wall. The cold wet stone of the floor eats into the thin material of my novice robe as I try to shift closer to the light, wriggling my hips and shoulders I inch my way. I hear the soft gurgle of water as I near the center of the cell, the floor sunken in the center around a filth covered drainage grate. Sliding over the metal of the grate it snags my robe, the metal biting cruelly into my hip. Using my feet, I try to lift myself over the drain, but the tight ropes have long since rendered my feet numb making them clumsy. Slipping, my hip slams back to the floor gouging the metal deep as a scream bursts forth. Quickly I wriggle back off the grate, sobbing as my aching hip meets the cold wet stone floor. The sound of heavy footfalls and the clink of keys move closer, I try to stifle my sobs as the light around the door flickers. Metal screeches as the heavy door swings inwards revealing two dark forms, with the light stabbing into my eyes I squint as tears run down my cheeks as I try to see my captors.
"Have this one cleaned and collared, then bring her to the main chamber with the others." With a disdainful sniff, the smaller shadow moves away leaving me alone with the huge form of the other one lumbering toward me, the silver gleam of a knife in his right hand. Trembling in fear, frozen, my eyes locked on the knife as he kneels beside me, he leans over and cuts the rope connecting my hands to my feet. Roughly, he grabs the rope around my ankles dragging me toward him, squeezing my eyes shut in fear I feel him cut the bonds, the cold blade of the knife slides against my fevered skin. I whimper in pain as blood rushes back to my feet and my knees unlock. The ruff feel of his callused hands rubbing my feet gives me something to focus on besides the pain, the hot feel of his hands surrounding my small bare feet sets my heart to racing, as no part of my body had ever been touched by a man. In shock at the unexpected pleasure of his gently rubbing hands, my protest dies unvoiced. In the faint light, I can see the broad muscles of his bare chest flexing as he rubs my feet, the scent of his warm skin mingling with the leather of his pants. My eyes follow the chiseled lines of his chest up to his face. A small gasp leaves me at the sight, causing him to glance upwards. Cold gray eyes bore into mine from the face of an angel. Standing up he grabs my arm dragging me to my feet, growling softly. My knees buckle, my hip throbbing with pain, I fall against the hard plains of his chest. With an abrupt shove he sends me stumbling toward the door, my balance off because of my tied hands, his fist closes around my tangled hair before I can even think of running. In the bright light of the corridor, I can see other cell doors, the sounds of weeping adding a soft background to the screams. With the painful guide of his fist in my hair he pushes me into a room with a huge kettle of water simmering over a low fire, a wooden table holds brushes, rags, and pots of soap. I struggle against him as fear slams into me, trying to get loose from his hold. Tears stream down my face as I struggle in his arms, heart racing, realizing the awful purpose of this room.
"You can't do this!" I scream, "I'm a Temple novice, no man may touch me on pain of death."
With a practiced ease he cuts the bonds from my hands, dragging my arms above my head, the muscles of my shoulders burning in protest causes me to stop struggling. Ignoring me, he swiftly locks my wrists into the manacles hanging from the ceiling. Kneeling down he locks first one ankle then the other into manacles on the floor, my legs spread. Panting in fear I watch as a smirk curls his lips as he brings the knife in front of my eyes the sharp edge glinting. His hot breath feathers my cheek as the cold metal scrapes up a tear. His cold eyes bore into mine as he licks the blade, his message clear. Cutting the dirty robe from my body he throws it into the corner of the cell, the thin straps of my shift part under the sharp blade to slide down my body, bunching at my hips, my spread legs preventing it from falling to the floor. Flushing under his bold stare, his gaze travels over every inch of exposed flesh. I shudder as his eyes leave my chest to pause at my bruised and torn hip. I loose sight of him as he walks behind me, my every nerve ending tingling in fear and anticipation. I feel his hand skimming up my leg to bunch the material tight against my skin, as he cuts it from me I cry out and flinch away. His soft, cruel laugh echoes in the chamber as he grabs a fist full of my hair wrenching my head back, the warm skin of his chest brushes against my shoulder as warm water cascades down my hair. Water pours over me several times drenching my hair, out of the corner of my eye I see him leaning over to the table as he opens the soap jar dipping out a generous hand full, the feel of his strong hands lathering my hair makes me moan. My cheeks grow hot from embarrassment at the strange tingling in my body that causes my nipples to harden into tight little buds. Fighting the traitorous feelings of my body, I try to resist the pleasure of his hands washing the filth from my long hair.
Looking around to focus on something, anything to distance myself, my eyes focus on a crest hanging on the wall. Blinking away the tears I try to make sense of the jumbled image, the red image on a field of black reveals itself as the side view of a griffin in the ancient style of Tar'sin. The knowledge sets off warning bells in my mind as I try to dredge up the memory, water again pours over my hair, rinsing it. A cold knot of dread claws my stomach as I search the crest, hoping not to find it, and see hanging in the beasts fore claw the Scourge.
"No, please, oh sweet Goddess no!" I whimper, as I frantically try to pull my wrists from the manacles, screaming and sobbing uncontrollably as one word echoed in the madness of my mind.
Like a wild animal mindless of the pain, I fight to free myself, pulling on the chains as blood trails down my arms. The blinding shock of his open palm against my cheek brings me back with the taste of blood in my mouth, sobbing, I sag in my restraints exhausted and dazed. I feel him lift me taking my weight off my abused wrists. The hard muscle of his thigh wedges itself between my legs holding me up, my exposed sex resting on the slick leather of his pants. Gulping back little hiccup sobs, I can't help but feel the heat radiating from the hard planes of his body as my breasts rub against his bare chest with every ragged breath. The shock of finding out where I am shakes loose the memory of how I had gotten there. In a nightmare kaleidoscope of images, the memory leaps out of the void and forces me back...
Chasing after a skittish mule was not my idea of fun after the grueling pace the Head Sister had kept. The lake we had decided to camp at looked cool and inviting to my sweat and road dust coated body and the mule was keeping me form my well earned soak. Topping a small hill I spotted the beast contentedly munching on some wild oats, I laughed at the thought the mule had gotten it backwards. Talking softly I slowly made my way to the mule’s side and tied a lead rope to his halter. Scratching his long ears, I led him back to the group as the sun set, unable to stay mad at the beast. Just as I entered the small clearing that we had made our camp I felt the mule bolt again, the rope burning through my fingers as a large hand clamped over my mouth. From behind me, more shadowy forms ran past chasing after the screaming Sisters as they tried to escape. The guilty knowledge that I had led our attacker’s strait to my unprotected Sisters followed me down the dark abyss as my ears started ringing, the hand firmly covering my nose and mouth cutting off the air no matter how I struggled. Cold gray eyes were the last thing I saw as the darkness smothered me…
My prayers for forgiveness falter to a halt as the image of cold gray eyes fill my memory. Slowly, not wanting to face the truth, I look into the eyes of my gentle captor and see the same cruel monster that held me as others rounded up my Sisters like animals.
“It was you,” taking a deep breath to steady the childish whine in my voice and hiding the fear in my eyes with what I hoped was a defiant glare, I confronted my monster. “Where are my Sisters?”
“Ah, so the rose thinks she has thorns,” mockery drips from every ruff syllable, his hands grip my hips as he slowly, firmly, pushes me off his leather-clad thigh. My eyes widen in shock at the sensation of slick leather sliding between my legs, biting my bottom lip to contain a moan, I turn my head away to hide my blush of shame. Shivering in the cold left by the loss of his body heat, I cannot understand my body’s reaction and know I should feel disgusted by his every touch, but…
Savagely I cut off the thought, resolving to think only of escape for my Sisters and me. Straitening my spine, purpose giving me strength, I look around for the means to my escape. The room has no windows that I can see and the walls are made of smooth stone, the only door the one I was dragged through.
“There is no escape my little rose blossom,” cruel laughter dances in his eyes as he leans a hip against the table, the jar of soap in his hands, “look around again, as you can see we are very good at our business. My family has been slavers for over fifty generations. You will be here for the rest of your life serving the pleasure of your Master,” with soap coating his large hands he stalks over to me his intent clear. Bracing myself, anger making me brave, I try to prepare for being washed like an animal. Expecting an assault, the gentle glide of his slick hands down my arms takes me by surprise, his large hands easily encircling my wrists and arms as he washes the blood from them, inspecting the damage I had done in my frenzy. The feel of his tall form behind me seems protective as his hands lift up my hair and flips it over my shoulder to bare my back to his exploring touch. The firm pressure of his fingers work out the knots from being tied up, my eyes drift closed as his hands kneed and stroke down my back.
Gasping in shock, I rise up on my toes as his hands cup my ass cheeks, fingers probing the crack to swirl lazy circles around my puckered center. Hot and cold shivers course through me rising goose bumps, “What are you doing?” I squeal, wiggling in his hands. Panting, I try to dislodge his offending fingers.
“Easy blossom,” his breath puffs against my ear, “I need to wash all your petals.” The soft rumble of his laughter spurs my anger as it melts my bones. Gritting my teeth, a tear slips down my cheek as his hands slide down my right leg he comes around to kneel in front of me. Looking down at the top of his bent head the light of the fire gives his black shoulder length hair a blue sheen, in frustration my leg flexes in the restraining cuff, a part of me wanting to kick him away.
I can see a smirk on his face as he moves to my left leg. I wince in pain, as even the gentle glide of his hands awakens the fiery pain in my wounded hip. Tears blur my vision as he lightly probes my torn skin, washing the filth from the cut, the smirk replaced by the hard slash of his lips. Rising to his feet he returns to the table and rinses the bloody soap from his hands, bringing a small bucket of clean water he pours it over the wound in a steady stream, the soap and blood disappear down a drain between my feet. Setting the empty bucket on the table he returns with a small jar, the smell of healing ointment strong as the lid is removed. The cool numbing effect soon takes away the pain.
“Thank you.” The words slip past my lips before I can stop them.
“You should be more careful of My property.” The look in his eyes is no longer cold, a chill dances up my spine as I try to decide if that is an improvement. Soap once more coating his hands he resumes washing the grime from my skin, one hand at the small of my back as the other slowly circles my belly button in widening swirls. Using both hands, his thumbs trace my ribs, panting I look away from his roaming hands and become trapped in his smoky gaze. Nervously I lick my lips, my mouth dry, my heart thumps against my chest as his eyes darken. His hands cup the firm globes of my chest, my nipples slide between his fingers as his thumbs flick them causing me to whimper. Warmth pools between my legs in a tingling rush from my nipples to my center, squirming at the feel of wetness, my hips shift with wanting, confused I stare into his eyes. His knuckles lightly trail down my stomach as the other hand pinches my nipple, moaning I freeze as his hand delves between my legs, rubbing, my hips buck, thrusting myself against his hand.
“Mm, My sweet blossom, dew already coats your petals.” Smiling, he walks back to the table. Swallowing another whimper as his hands leave my body, I watch him refill the bucket. The smirk once more gracing his lips as he rinses the soap from my fevered skin, the heat of a blush stains my cheeks at the sinful pleasure of his touch.
A cold splash of reality awakens me from my body’s willing descent. ‘This is my captor, my jailer’ my mind screams. This is the person who led the raid, trapping me and my sisters.’ The last few hours are a mixture of fear and pleasure. My temple training seems lost in a warm haze of wanting. The slick feel of his hands sliding down my arms as he smoothes oil on my skin shatters my focus, rekindling the fire in my blood. His hot breath feathers the back of my neck as his hands glide over my back to cup my ass, his slick fingers again probing me. Unable to control my body, I lean back into his touch, moaning at the hot feel of his chest on my cool wet skin.
His hands sweep up my stomach to cup my breasts, his fingers twisting my nipples as his ruff voice growls into my ear. “Yes, crave my touch. Learn who your Master is.”
“I am no ones slave. I’m a Temple novice in service to the Goddess.” I said. Unprepared for the swiftness of his reaction I cry out at the feel of his fist wrenching my head back, my hair wrapped around his hand.
“You will learn to call Me Master,” the words whispered with ardent conviction from his lips, “you will be punished until you submit.” The loud crack of his hand landing on the tender flesh of my ass punctuates the silence. The pain swelling in a slow burn as he swats me repeatedly, raining blows on both cheeks as his other hand holds me steady in the chains.
“Ouch! Stop,” whimpering, trying to breath between the steady strokes, “you can’t do this!”
“That’s not what I want to hear slave.” A stinging smack follows each word as his other hand slides down my stomach, his fingertips stroking the purl between my legs. Tasting blood where I had bitten my lip trying to hold in the screams, I realize that I cannot take much more, pleasure and pain shoots through every nerve as the urge to give in skitters across my mind. The strange tingling between my legs that started with each stroke of his fingers seems to be feeding off the pain of the spanking, heat coils tighter as pain takes over.
“Ah, please, Mm…” tears clog my voice as I try to say the words, “Master I am yours.” I whimper at the feel of his hand softly stroking the burning skin of my backside. With his fingers still rubbing the slick folds of my center, I scream as a shudder of intense pleasure rips through my body.
“Just as bad behavior is punished,” another smack of his hand stings my tingling flesh, “good behavior is rewarded.” He whispers into my ear. With every flick of his fingers between my slick folds, a jolt of intense pleasure bursts through me causing the chains to dance. The sound reminds me of where I am and tears flood my eyes at the knowledge that I already crave his touch, it didn’t matter that I would be his slave, he had already filled a part of me I hadn’t know was empty. Stunned, I drop my gaze to the floor as he steps away from my still burning body. I listen to his footsteps as he rummages through a chest behind me. I shiver in anticipation at the bang of the closing lid and his returning footsteps. His boots enter my vision as he stops in front of me.
“Lift your head slave,” the command in his ruff voice sets my pulse racing. Slowly my gaze travels up his body, pausing briefly at the noticeable bulge at his crotch. In his hands are two metal collars one a plan polished steel the other engraved silver with the crest of the house enameled in red and black. “Choose the silver and become My slave or the steel and be sold to the highest bidder.” His words ring with the sound of ritual. Turning he sets the collars on the table, his face a blank mask as he releases me from the chains.
Staring at the collars, my body still throbbing, I slowly limp to the table. With my teeth worrying my bottom lip, I try to decide. Do I choose the silver and explore the new and delicious feelings still coursing through my body, with the possibility of helping my sisters escape? Or, do I choose the steel and hope I am sold with my sisters to the same place? Closing my eyes, trusting in my heart and the Goddess, I pick up a collar, my fingers sliding over the slick feel of enamel and silver.