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Monday, May 16, 2011

SLAVE MARKET by Evanne Lorraine

Rescued from sexual slavery by a dragon king, Cassandra owes the royal a debt she can never repay.  Dormant dragon gifts earn her a place of trust as companion, but when she loses her headstrong charge, she faces disgrace and death. 

Handpicked to recapture the kidnapped princess, Xyn and Belz are ordered to work with Cassandra.  That she’s forced to accept a role as their slave is bad enough, but the males bluntly tell her that she can’t come with them unless she can handle all of their sexual needs.  Desperate to atone for losing the princess, and innately trusting the males, she reluctantly agrees.

The dominant dragons are hard males to satisfy.  Cassandra exhausts herself bringing them pleasure.  More troubling than her fatigue from so many orgasms is that their erotic demands prove addictive, binding her heart and soul to the dangerous males more surely than she was ever bound by a slave collar.

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Chapter One

In the standard galactic year 4416
Aboard a Maldorean Slaver, nearing Krinegi space

Strong fingers tightened cruelly on Cassandra’s chin.  She kept her eyes closed and fought the urge to jerk away, knowing anything other than total submission would earn her a jolt of excruciating pain.  Pain she could not escape. 

“Look at me, slave.”

The captain’s voice raised the fine hairs on her arms.  The Maldorean officer enjoyed both screams and blood. He excelled at prolonging a session of torture. Slowly she raised her eyes to his bland grin.  Despite his command, meeting his eyes was a punishable offense.

“Still some fight in you, good. You’ll bring me a pretty price.”  He paused and stroked her collar with a single finger.  “Besides with your collar’s connection embedded, I can track you anywhere in the known universe.”

He handed her collar’s controller to the man behind him, yanked her upright, and shoved her roughly toward the waiting man, who also wore the syn-metal collar.

 “Clean her and see to her wounds.”

She stumbled bumping into the male slave and instantly went rigid from her collar’s zap of pain. The loathsome slave collar around her neck had been soldered in place with its transmitter embedded into her spinal column. This allowed whoever held the controller to fire pulses of excruciating pain directly into her central nervous system.

He waited impassively for her to stop twitching before he spoke.  “Follow me.”

Still shaky from the light zap, weak, and naked, she tottered after her new handler.
Three years of slavery had left her thin and wary, but not completely broken.  She tried to shake off the lingering effects of last jolt from her collar to make sense of what was happening. “Where are we going?”

Without turning his head, he whispered, “Keep silent or I’ll have to zap you again, and then we’ll both suffer.”

She followed his advice as a bewildering series of handlers passed her, and her controller, from one station to the next.  A fast blessedly warm sanitizer cycle, medi-scan eval, and then a lavish handful of expensive nanobots were applied to her skin.

 While the invisible robots worked to repair her injuries and groomed her from head to toe, a replicator whirred to life.  Soon a tall warm drink waited.  An aroma of sweet hot chocolate wafted from the steaming container.

Her nose inhaled the tempting smell and her mouth watered.  Seconds passed and no one claimed the tempting beverage. From the edge of her vision she watched the handlers drift by, escorting other slaves and paying her no mind.  The bots continued grooming.  Gradually her pasty neglected skin took on a healthy glow.  The only scars she still bore were invisible.

Temptation overcame caution and she snatched the drink.  The first small sips of hot chocolate, the real thing--not a syn version, were sheer heaven.  A savory nutrition bar appeared and she barely hesitated before munching down the entire treat in greedy mouthfuls.  Another hot chocolate appeared.  No obvious side effects appeared from the first drink.  Hunger and thirst took over.  She gulped down the steaming chocolate and ate the delicious bars until her shrunken stomach bulged and she was sated and sleepy.

Unknown hours later, she woke on a different spacecraft.  One slave among a hundred or more, all of them naked except for their collars, all of them seemed content, and all of them had been polished to high gloss.

By the time they docked at a space station and Cassandra was hustled into a shuttlecraft she felt tentatively optimistic.  There had to be a way to remove the collar, because the captain was right that was the only way she’d ever be truly free.  The other slaves both male and female wore reflections of her own nervous smile.  Something big was happening, there were fewer handlers than she’d ever seen.  After three years in captivity, if they landed, then for the first time escape was a real possibility.  The trip to the planet’s surface passed in a blur of flickering hope.

She joined the line leaving the craft.  The exit parted to allow only one of them to leave before it then resealed.  When her turn came, she stepped through the hatchway into a syn-metal corridor just as a Krinegi rounded the corner.  The frightening female’s dark chitin surface was as effective as the finest armor.  She closed the distance between them and used her sharp pincers to cuff Cassandra’s upper arm.  A controller dangled from a lanyard around the Krinegi’s shiny black neck.

Cassandra couldn’t read the etching, but her stomach tightened with the certainty the device accessed her collar.  Although the Krinegi couldn’t work the delicate controls without a droid, unless things had changed drastically during her time on the Maldorean slaver, bots were easily acquired for a meager few space credits, so that wasn’t enough of barrier to offer any comfort.

Faced with the hard black shelled reality of her new keeper, the faint chance of escape she’d dared to dream of crashed and died.

The razor edge of the female’s pincers drew blood.  Cassandra clamped her teeth and remained quiet.  She’d heard the female Krinegi were almost as touchy as their notoriously bad-tempered males and she knew an angry guard could cause a terrifying amount of pain.

A series of angry buzzes and harsh clicks erupted from the female’s open mandible.  A heartbeat later, the device implanted in her thorax translated the noises to, “Disgusting thin- skinned humanoid.”

Although Cassandra had been scoured and groomed thoroughly, memories of the last three years of depravity and constant torture flooded her with self-loathing.  Disgusting summed up her own feelings much too accurately.

Her escort stopped at a replicator and applied a dressing to Cassandra’s oozing wound, topping the bandage with a syn-metal clamp-on armlet.  She inspected the temporary repair, nodded to herself, and gripped the armlet firmly with her pincer.

Before long the corridor let them out in a busy hive of Krinegi industry.  Other slaves from the Maldorean ship already waited on a platform.  A glance backward revealed more slaves being escorted toward the same platform.  She was hurried up the steps and took her indicated place.  A force field snapped closed around her.

An expectant crowd, of many species--some she’d never seen, jostled for position around the stage.  Scanning the potential buyers, she shuddered with both dread and cold, and gave thanks for the force field that protected her from the spectators and bidders at least temporarily.

A towering Krinegi male descended in a personal hovercraft, stopping just above the front of the platform.  His amplified translator broadcast across the arena.  “Welcome to the Slave Market.”

He continued and the crowd quieted as he opened the bidding with the offer of a tall Hakanese male.  The humanoid did not wear a collar, but he stood passively, staring straight ahead as the Krinegi described him.  From her position near the back of the stage, she saw only the back of head, neck, and upper shoulders.  At the base of his neck the universal sign for a water demon’s servant was tattooed.

A surge of empathy for his plight washed over her and she wondered what had happened to his master.  Perhaps the demon’s servant had been stolen from his home world as she had been.  Maldoreans weren’t the only species to traffic in slaves.  They weren’t even the worst.

Sounds of a scuffle pulled her attention to the area behind the platform.  A pair of powerful males shimmered with aggression despite the heavy manacles binding their hands and feet.  For a second she could have sworn they were covered in scales.  But she blinked and the illusion vanished.

The one closest to her met her gaze and flashed her smile of dazzling brightness. His eyes flashed amber with an earth-dragon’s elliptical pupils.  Drawn so strongly, she couldn’t have resisted, she stared at the other male.  The glow of a fire-dragon’s ruby irises met her stunned gaze.  An insane urge to protect them roared through her veins.
Cassandra forced her eyes away from those dangerously compelling males and the wild yearning to erase the damage that kept her inner dragon permanently latent--for things that could never be. From under her lashes she sought another peek at the gorgeous pair, but they were being dragged away by a squad of humanoid guards, wearing silver body armor with an air- dragon’s royal crest.

If dragon males were held captive, then she truly had no hope.  She tried to find comfort that they weren’t being auctioned off, but the strange feeling she’d failed the magnificent males persisted.

With no distraction from her failure to save the males or to escape her miserable slavery, her arm throbbed and although her skin burned with fever, she shivered.

 Cassandra focused on her bare feet until her containment field moved, jerking her to the front of the platform.  A fast scan of the bidders tightened her belly.

Shiny black Krinegi males clicked and buzzed excitedly.  Reputedly, they liked to nibble on their slaves.  Some of their snacks lasted for months before something vital ended their wretched lives.  She shuddered, fighting the rise of mindless panic.  Where there was life there was hope, she would endure.

To the right of the Krinegi, several spiny Andulvian panted and dripped, each damp tentacle contained a mouth and a probe.  The agony of each spiny penetration made the jolts from her collar feel like a lover’s nip.  She closed her eyes and prayed fervently the Lady Kiandra, goddess of water, for the mercy of a humanoid master. 

Her eyes opened, seeking a miracle.  A silver helmet bearing the royal mark of a dragon moved toward the front of the crowd.  Now, Cassandra shook with new terror that after years of ignoring her requests the incomprehensible goddess had chosen to answer this last foolish prayer.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you David, I appreciate your support--soggy shoes and all. :D