Summary/Warning: This story is set in ancient Roman times so there is slavery, violence, sexual violence, and sex that are portrayed very graphically. Please take this into consideration before reading. This tale is about the struggle of a slave to protect her mistress when she has no protection of her own.
Thanks: To Chris for the beta, she always manages to make me look smarter than I really am. To the woman in my life for encouraging me to post this and understanding my fragile writer's ego.If you read me please feed me: email@example.com
The slap impacted my cheek faster than I anticipated. Not that I would have been able to raise a hand to stop it. The thought of acting against her would have made matters far worse than they were. Her hand trembled with the shock of what she had just done. She has owned me for twelve years and had yet to ever lay a hand on me in anger until now.
“I have lost myself,” she almost whispered.
“Domina, please...” I tried. She immediately raised her hand to silence me.
“Do not speak,” she said evenly. “You no longer hold the privilege of free speech within my house.”
I lowered my head and cast my eyes to the floor. She had taken away the one thing I held more dear to me than my freedom. The one thing that I fought hardest to trust in when I first came to her. The tears that were welling up in my eyes spilled over onto my bare feet.
“How could you blemish me...my house with this, Braun? After how well you have been treated? After everything that we have been through?” she asked me. I did not answer, unsure if an answer would even be welcome. She stepped up to me and roughly grabbed my jaw, forcing my eyes up to meet her own. She was momentarily shocked at the tears she found there. This was probably the first time she had ever seen me shed any. “I want an answer.”
“Domina...I had no choice...I,” my thought halted. I knew the look in her eye, I had seen it many times through the years. Full of righteousness, of her knowledge that she is the only person correct in the debate. It was true again. I should not have done what I did regardless of the outcome. It only brought shame upon all that knew me, most of all her. The fight left me and I looked away, not daring to pull my jaw from her grip.
“There is always a choice! I thought by now you would know that,” she admonished. “My slaves behave a certain way in public. That behavior affords them other freedoms within my house they would not have elsewhere. You spat upon those freedoms today!”
“Apologies Domina,” I whispered.
“Apologies? Apologies! You spoke up in public against the Prefect! Do you really think apologies are going to make up for what you have done?” I did not answer. I could not have even if I tried to draw the breath to speak. “You are lucky I was able to convince him to discipline you at home instead of where you stood. The only reason he agreed was because it would have taken up too much of his valuable time with the commission.”
She dropped her hand from my jaw and paced away. My Domina, for that is how I think of her, had never shown such callousness toward me before. From the day I first was purchased at the market she was nothing but kind and patient. She treated all her slaves thus. She believed that all people should be equal upon the Earth and said that change always began under one's own roof.
Her petite frame trembled as she paced to and fro along the rug. I had never seen her so angry and despised myself for having been the person to incite such feelings within her. My knees weakened and I barely controlled my drop to the floor. She turned at the sound and looked down upon me with unshed tears in her own eyes. “I must turn you over to him for punishment.”
I closed my eyes and cast my face down to the floor, no longer worthy of basking in her warmth. She walked over to me and placed a hand on the back of my head. “He will hurt you Braun, and there is nothing I can to do protect you. Do you understand?” she said softly. I nodded. “He will be here shortly. Go wait in the courtyard for his arrival.” I rose swiftly to my feet and walked purposefully out of the room without raising my head.
I passed a few slaves on my way through the house and they all held the same piteous looks upon their faces. They knew as well as I that whatever punishment the Prefect had planned for me was more than likely going to hamper my ability to serve for quite some time. The Prefect. The title rolled around in my head with disgust trailing behind it like a tail. He was known for only two things, his ruthlessness and his cruelty. Both of which I was more than expecting to experience this evening. Though the pain of that reality paled in comparison to the dishonor I had dealt to my Domina today.
I exited the house and stopped in the courtyard, kneeling on the cobble there. I had spent many an afternoon and evening in this space. My Domina allowed me to exercise here and some days she chose to watch. Once she discovered that I was a warrior in my former life she encouraged me to retain my abilities. Of course I was not allowed real weapons. Domina could not afford another noble finding out that she provided her slaves with means to escape or endanger another citizen, but I trained none the less. I used the weight of my own body, stones, large logs, and Domina even picked up a practice sword from the market. She gifted me with it one sunny afternoon and asked for a display of my skill.
Once I recovered from my shock at the gift, I proceeded to entertain her for as long as my body would allow. She had been delighted and even though I went to sleep that night with sore muscles, my heart was warm with her praise. Now this place held only fear and dread. The anticipation was almost too much for me to bear. I breathed deeply of the air, smelling the scent of the herb garden nearby, and stilled myself. I had faced many horrors before Domina owned me. If facing this one would allow me to stay with her then I would gladly do it ten times over. Resolve slowly seeped into my heart and I breathed deeply again.
The gate to the courtyard clanged loudly and swung inward allowing the Prefect and his entourage to enter. From the corner of my eye I saw my Domina exit the house to welcome him. He dismounted as she drew even.
“Husband, it does my heart good to see you home again,” Domina said touching his arm.
He scowled at her as a slave removed his cape. “Let us save the platitudes for later. Bring her forward!” he called out behind him. One of his soldiers dragged a young girl to stand before him. My heart began to race in earnest when I realized who she was. Her name was Syma and she was a slave in this house. Her mother died in child birth so she had been raised by the community of slaves here. Domina was quite fond of her and took it upon herself to educate the girl when the opportunity arose.
The Prefect grabbed the girl by the back of her hair and dragged her forward to stand before me. She was whimpering and tears were falling freely onto the stone at her feet. I watched as a small puddle formed there and ran down the cracks of the cobble. “Stand!” he commanded me. I did so, keeping my eyes cast to the ground. I saw his fist fly and waited for the impact that never came. Syma cried out and fell to the ground, blood seeping from her lip.
“You dare to speak out amongst men! Amongst citizens!” he bellowed at me. “You dare to speak out questioning me! Do you fancy yourself a man?” he screamed.
“No Dominus,” I answered hesitantly.
“You lie! So not only do you embarrass your Dominus, but you hold yourself in a station high above what you deserve!” This time his fist did make contact with me. A fire exploded from my temple across the back of my head and I rocked on my heels. “You dare open your mouth when men, when citizens, are speaking! I should cut out your tongue!”
“Please Magnus,” said Domina quietly. She slowly approached her husband and cautiously caressed his shoulder.
“Step away,” he told her forcefully. “The time for leniency has passed.” I watched her feet retreat back towards the house before another blow felled me to my knees. “Since you seem so determined to be part of a man's work, I shall turn you into one.” The Prefect raised his arm and signalled to a guard behind him. “Stand,” he told me coldly.
I did as he bid, trying not to sway as my head screamed. Two guards approached me with something in their hands, stripped me of my belt and tunic, and had it affixed to my hips before I realized what they were carrying. “There now, you have your own cock,” the Prefect said laughing while his men joined him. “Since you were so kind as to interrupt me before I took this tramp, you shall do it for me.” Another blow came and I almost doubled over his fist as it hit my stomach.
“Please Dominus...she is but a girl,” I grunted out. I could not believe what he was commanding me to do.
He stepped forward and grabbed me around the throat, forcing his face into mine. “And you shall make her a woman,” he growled. I was thrown to the ground next to Syma who still lay cowering. I looked at her tear stained face and noted the bruise already forming there. She was fourteen summers old. I prayed to any god listening to strike me dead before I was forced to do this horrible thing.
I heard my Domina start to say something but a glare from the Prefect threatened her into silence. Domina was aware more than any of us how cruel this man could be. The Prefect snapped his fingers and the two guards grabbed Syma and ripped her tunic free. She was naked and exposed for all to see. If it were possible, the fear on her face doubled. “Look at how nice your Dominus is,” he said kicking me in the ribs as he walked by. “I have prepared her for you.” I gasped trying to suck air into my lungs.
“Well...mount her!” he bellowed. I struggled to my knees and crawled over to the girl. I prayed that she did not try to move away or run, for he would surely kill her. I made the grave mistake of looking into her eyes as I held myself aloft over her body. The girl, the child, pleaded with me not to steal from her this last sacred possession. My body refused to move any further, her eyes riveting me to that spot, that second in time.
I heard the crack of the whip before I felt its sting across my shoulders. It broke the spell between us and Syma started as I hissed in pain. Another strike followed but I stood fast. “You will do as commanded or I will pick you apart piece by piece!” the Prefect screamed. He struck me again and again as I refused to do his bidding. Blood began to run down by back and arms, pooling around my hands onto the stone beneath. I held my body over the girl, my arms shaking, and watched her jump every time he cracked his whip.
My breath was coming in ragged pants and sweat mingled with the blood turning it into rivers. The rivers began to wash down the courtyard as I registered that what I thought were tears, was in fact rain falling on Syma's face. The cool drops soaked my hair, running off my skin like a fountain as the heavens opened. A thought entered my head that it was the goddess of love, Venus, weeping for the girl. It brought me comfort, for at least there was someone to be her witness. Someone that could one day make this tyrant pay for the way he treated her.
I lost count of how many times he struck me. My arms began to shake long ago and my mind screamed for mercy. Then, something in Syma's eyes changed and she aged before me in seconds. She raised a small hand to my cheek and caressed the heated skin there. Her palm was cool and I swore it felt like my salvation at that moment. She looked into my eyes for a long moment, searching for something she must have found. She then nodded once. A small gesture that I would have missed had I not been only inches from her. She was giving me permission.
My heart railed. My soul cried out so loudly I swore the others in the courtyard heard it. Syma slowly trailed her hand down my body and grasped the appendage there. She then guided it to the apex of her legs. I resisted her, trying to think of any way I could prevent what I was about to do. “Take her or I will kill you both!” the Prefect yelled with a final strike upon my back. Syma spread her legs, once again giving me her permission to commit this atrocity.
“Forgive me,” I whispered, and as the thunder crashed above us I thrust into her as smoothly as I could manage. She wrapped her arms around my neck pulling me to her and grunted in my ear as I tore through her innocence. “Please forgive me.”
“Show her how much of a man you are!” the Prefect yelled as he strode over to stand over us. Syma buried her face in my shoulder and tightened her hold on my neck. I feared she would render me unconscious before the Dominus had a chance. I continued to move within the girl slowly, trying my best not to cause her any more pain than I already had. He bent down low next to my ear. “Fuck her Braun,” he growled.
I defied him, stopping my movement all together. He yelled in my ear and I ignored him. He stood up and lashed out with a booted foot catching me in the side of the head. I took the hit and seized the opportunity. I went limp and slumped on top of Syma making him think he had knocked me out. It startled the girl and she cried out. He then kicked me again in the ribs and I rolled with the force of the blow like dead weight should. The momentum blessedly rolled me off of Syma and onto my side next to her.
I lay there listening to the Prefect step over the girl and kneel down beside me. I heard him draw his blade and thought for sure that he would end my life. He slipped the blade underneath the harness and, with a twist of his wrist, severed the phallus from my body. “Fucking pathetic,” spat the Prefect. “You make a worse man than you do a slave.”
I remained still on the stone as he righted himself and bellowed orders, continuing on into the house. No doubt he was headed for his dinner and a whore. A few moments later I felt someone smooth my hair from my face and surmised it was safe enough to open my eyes. It was my Domina, rain dripping from her face onto mine. I will never forget the look of concern in her eye as she caressed my forehead. Then I genuinely lost consciousness and knew nothing but blessed oblivion.
I woke the next day, though wished I had not. I was lying face down on a bench and could tell by the smell of the air around me I was in my Domina's rooms. She always smelled of lavender and rose water and it clung to the places she frequented the most. The bench I was on was the one she would normally lounge in while she read. She would also teach lessons from it, letting me and my fellow slaves read to her so we could learn. I heard someone approach and felt a light touch on the back of my arm.
“Braun?” came the whispered voice.
“Yes Domina,” I said with a rasp in my throat.
“Oh thank the Gods!” she said breathlessly. I could hear her begin to cry.
“Please Domina, please forgive me for what I have done,” I said trying to roll over.
She placed a hand on the back of my neck. “No Braun, do not move,” she warned so I settled back down. “The healer said you should not move for at least another day.” Her hand left the back of my neck only to settle in my hair. She slowly threaded her fingers through it as she wept.
I was confused. She should be angry with me for how I behaved. She should be furious over what I did. I did not understand why she had bothered to fetch a healer or why she was showing me such tenderness. Behaving in such a way towards a slave was rare, even for one so sensitive as she.
“You must drink this,” she said holding a small cup out to me. I picked my head up slightly and she held the cup to my lips as I swallowed. The mixture was bitter on my tongue and tasted of copper. I grimaced at the foul taste and coughed causing a groan of pain to escape my lips.
I turned my head to face her and watched as tear after tear rolled down her cheeks. “Syma, is she...?” I could not bare to finish the question.
“She is well,” Domina said with a smile. “She sings your praises as we speak.”
My face went sour at her comment. “Domina, it is cruel to jest about such things.”
“Jest? I do no such thing.” Her hand trailed down my cheek and onto my neck once more. “She tells all who will listen of your bravery and how you rescued her.” It made no sense in my mind why the girl would do such a thing. My confusion must have shown on my face, for the Domina continued. “Braun, you did your best to protect her, to shield her from a horrible experience. You refused to...to take her until she gave you her blessing. There are men of greater stature that have done far less,” said the Domina with a look of disgust.
My heart refused to hear her words. “I stole her innocence, I should be dead,” I said and turned my head back around.
My Domina was not deterred. “Syma waits outside. She wishes to speak with you.”
“No Domina, please!” I said struggling to rise. Pain erupted through my chest and back and I had to clamp down on my jaw to hold back the contents of my stomach. “Oh Gods,” I grunted. I collapsed back against the lounge panting. I reached out and grabbed the first thing my hand came in contact with. It happened to be the hand of my Domina. It was cool and dry and her palm was smooth like her favorite silk robe.
I gripped it for all I was worth, willing the pain to subside so I could breathe again. “Easy,” she cooed. “Be still. If you move too much you will tear your stitches.” She pulled the cover up that had slipped away and lay it gently over my back never letting go of my hand. “Rest now, we will talk more later.” I was aware of a soft humming surrounding me as the herbs she gave me took hold. I focused on the sound, clinging to it. My Domina hummed when she was happy and I held fast to that thought as I drifted off.
It took me a week to recover to the point that I was able to perform my normal duties. During that time the only person I allowed to see me was my Domina. She arranged it so that I was able to occupy one of the smaller guest rooms in order to heal. The only reason she was able to do so was because the Prefect, our Dominus, had left the day after I awoke. He had matters to attend to in one of the far off provinces and would not return for at least a month. The household as a whole sighed in relief.
My Domina spent most of our time together trying to assuage my guilt. I barely ate and only slept when the herbs were in my system. I had yet to see Syma. My heart could barely think of her let alone gaze upon her. I refused to see the look of betrayal and hurt in her eyes that I believed would be there.
One of the kitchen slaves, Magda, brought me food that lay untouched unless the Domina was with me. Everything tasted of ash, no matter what spice was used or how much water I drank. Finally the healer gave his approval for me to resume my normal duties. I was glad to have something else to do other than sit in a room and think of the atrocity I had committed.
At the end of my first week back Domina decided to take a trip to the market. She heard talk of a merchant there with rare goods and wished to see if he had anything worth procuring. It was my duty to accompany her as slave and bodyguard whenever she left the house. The Prefect very rarely left guards at home when he was away, reasoning that nothing he left behind was important enough to him to protect. The Dominus had been completely aware of my history and abilities and that was why he purchased me. It was more to placate my Domina than put his own mind at ease. I was convinced the man cared for nothing save himself and his power.
I was awaiting my Domina in the courtyard with her horse. One of the stable slaves had readied the beast for her and I patted its nose while I drank in the feel of the sun on my skin. My ribs still ached me badly and the wounds on my back had not fully healed but if I was unable to perform my duties the Dominus would have surely sold me or worse, executed me for being a useless slave. One thing I knew for certain now, that I had doubted before, my Domina could not save me from his cruelty any more than I could save her.
There was a slight chill in the air this morning and I leaned into the beast at my side to leech his warmth. My Domina appeared in the doorway and met us in the courtyard. She stood for a moment looking at the ground there for a reason I knew not, then with my assistance, mounted her steed. “Braun, I wish to make a stop before we go to market,” she said to me.
“Yes Domina,” I answered without thought. She clucked her tongue and the horse started forward as I jogged ahead to open the gate. It took me longer than normal to cover the ground due to my injuries but I tried my best not to let my Domina see. The gate clanged shut behind us and she kept the horse at a leisurely pace while I walked beside her. We progressed in silence for some time before she spoke to me.
“The air is a bit chilled this morning,” she said rubbing her arms. “I am afraid I forgot to bring my cloak.”
“Shall I fetch it from the house for you Domina?” I asked looking up at her.
She chuckled. “It is a bit far for you just to run back for my cloak.” I had no answer so I lowered my head and continued on. I noticed goose bumps rising upon the skin of her calf out of the corner of my eye. I cursed myself for not thinking to pack the garment. Domina stopped the horse and looked down at me. “You will ride with me to keep me warm.”
“Domina?” I said shocked.
“If you ride behind me then your body will shield me from the wind. It will afford me greater comfort than shivering all the way to market,” she explained. I opened my mouth to question her about propriety but remembered her telling me I no longer held the privilege.
“Yes Domina,” I said and stepped up to the horse. She always rode aside as a noble woman should. Thankfully I was not held to the same standard and I slipped my foot into the stirrup and slung my other leg over the back of the animal. Domina shifted forward in the saddle and I lowered myself down behind her. There are moments when I am reminded just how slight my Domina's frame is and this happened to be such a moment. My legs hung past her own down the side of the animal and my head topped hers by at least three hands.
She leaned back into my body and adjusted herself to get comfortable. “This is much better,” she said with a smile and clucked at the horse to move on. It was so easy for me to close my eyes and imagine that she was mine. Riding in my arms through the countryside on our way to a picnic. It would take nothing for me to wrap my arms around her and hold her as if she were my own. Instead I steeled my resolve and rested my arms at my sides.
“You have been quiet of late,” she stated leaning her head back on my shoulder to look at me. The motion only made it harder not to give in to my fantasy. “Syma is disheartened that you have refused to see her and Magda tells me you have not eaten.”
“Apologies Domina,” I said staring ahead. “Do you wish a conversation?”
“Of course! But what I wish more is for you to return to me.”
“Again, apologies Domina. My body is taking more time than I would like to heal,” I said sadly.
My Domina sighed. “You misunderstand. Your body is here with me but your mind remains locked away. We have not spoken in days.”
“I was told I no longer possessed that right Domina. I only do as commanded,” I said softly.
“Who...” and I watched the light dawn in her eyes. She sat up and faced me reaching out to cup my cheek. “What I said...it was out of worry and fear. I should have known that what he would do to you would be much worse than anything my imagination could conjure. You are far braver than I could ever hope to be.”
I pulled away from her touch and looked out across the horizon. “I am a despicable coward,” I said with self loathing.
She dropped her hand. “How can you think such a thing when the people around you think you a hero?” I could feel my face twist in disbelief and shock. “I speak the truth. The entire house knows of what you did. I venture to think Syma would petition the heavens for a star in your honor.”
“What I did is not worthy of horse shit let alone a star,” I spat with vehemence. My Domina looked at me shocked. “Many apologies Domina. I forget my place,” I said quickly bowing my head.
“I have yet to ever hear you speak so harshly of someone until now. Why do you hate yourself so?” she asked with an open, sincere look.
I deliberated for a moment on telling her the truth. “When I was younger...I had my virtue taken like I took Syma's,” I explained with a heavy heart.
My Domina lifted my face to her and captured my eyes. “You took nothing from Syma. The Dominus forced you upon her but you refused. Do you remember?” I nodded. “Syma told me that she lay there watching you the entire time. She said you kept murmuring to her, telling her it would be alright.”
I scowled thinking back. “I do not recall.”
Domina smiled. “She told me that she had never felt more protected than she did at that moment. That is when she decided to offer you the same in return. She said she could bare no longer to hear the crack of the whip and see your blood fresh on the ground.” Domina reached up and placed both hands on my face. “She chose to give you her innocence because you were the only person that ever tried to protect it for her. She holds no regrets in that action and she will tell you herself if given the chance.”
“I do not know if I can face her,” I admitted.
“You are her hero Braun,” she said. My Domina then leaned up and kissed me gently on the lips. “And you are mine as well.” She settled back down into the saddle and leaned against me once again.
I feared she would be able to feel my heart beating through my chest. I had dreamed so many nights of feeling her lips on mine, having her body pressed against my own. Here, of all places, on the back of a horse is where my prayers were met. The Gods truly are humorous.
Before we reached the edge of the village I dismounted and walked the remaining distance. The stop Domina wanted to make turned out to be an old friend of hers that lived in the village proper. I waited outside with the horse as the two women met inside by the fire. The chill of the morning was finally burning off but my ribs were aching still. I shifted on my feet a few times before settling on my knees in the dirt. I leaned forward and back until I found a position that hurt the least. I was unable to utilize the hitching post at my back due to the wounds that still plagued me there.
Not much time passed before Domina exited the house and I assisted her once again into the saddle. We continued on through the village to the market, stopping at the edge so Domina could get her bearings and decide where she wished to go first. She found the first vendor and picked her way through the crowd toward his stand.
I never much cared for the market. It was crowded and dusty and a most difficult place to offer protection. Domina paid the first vendor a denarii to watch the horse while she shopped so I untied a satchel from the saddle and threw it over my shoulder. I followed her through the crowd keeping an eye out for pick pockets and thugs. The fact that the she was the wife of the Prefect afforded me a small amount of breathing room but I never knew when someone would try to take revenge upon him by harming her.
Purchase after purchase was made until the satchel was almost overflowing with goods and our stomachs pleasantly full. Domina lived to haggle and most often walked away with the shirt off the vendor's back. Though she did it all with a charm that left them uncaring and happy to have had the pleasure of her business. Eventually I looked up and noticed the sun had passed its apex in the sky and before long it would grow dark.
She was busy talking with a vendor when I stepped up next to her. She looked at me in question. “Apologies Domina, it grows late.”
She looked up, noting the low position of the sun. “So it does.” She then turned her attention back to the vendor. “This shall be my last purchase of the day and I will not budge from three dinarii.”
The vendor, a large man with dark hair and eyes, thought for a moment. He nodded once and money exchanged hands. Domina gave me the purchase which I placed in the satchel as we made our way back to the vendor that was watching the horse. My Domina's attention was caught and she veered off from the main causeway toward a small alley and the stall that sat there. She moved so quickly that I was separated from her but I could see the direction she had gone. I jostled my way through the crowd until I was standing at the mouth of the alley.
My heart stopped in my chest at what I saw and I dropped the satchel. My Domina was being thrown to the ground by a filthy looking thug as two other men looked on. I shouted and ran toward them skidding to a stop in the dirt in front of them.
“The Gods have smiled upon us men. Cunny rains from the heavens,” said the man in front with a laugh. His friends joined him. I felt my Domina place a hand on my arm and lift herself from the ground. Then the men began to circle us and I maneuvered my body between them and her.
The first one lunged with a dagger in his hand and she gasped as I side stepped his attack and broke his arm. My elbow made contact with his jaw and his consciousness slipped from his grasp. The second man advanced and I lashed out with a bare foot cracking him squarely in the chest. I could feel his ribs give way under my heel and he fell back into the dirt gasping for air. The third thug decided not to wait to get my attention and grabbed me from behind.
He squeezed my already damaged ribs in a bear hug that made me cry out. I could hear his laughter close to my ear and threw my head back into his face. He let me go with a yelp and I nearly dropped to the ground. I wheezed as I tried to pull air into my lungs. I looked up to find his nose bloodied and a blade in his hand. He blinked trying to clear his vision and took a wild swing. I circled him, once again putting myself between him and my Domina.
The thug swung again two more times causing me to back into her as I evaded his attack. I felt his blade tear through my tunic when I saw the opportunity I was waiting for. When he followed through on the lunge I stepped toward him and punched him in his already broken nose. He staggered back a step and I kicked him in his knee bringing him to the ground.
Domina called out a warning that made me turn to find the second man recovered and barrelling toward me. I waited until the last second and crouched low, taking him out at the knees and tossing his body over my shoulder. He hit the opposite wall of the alley upside down and fell, snapping his neck with the force of his own weight.
I looked around to find the last member of the group limping away at the end of the alley. I dismissed him and turned my attention to my Domina. I reached out and grabbed both of her hands. She was trembling and kept looking from me to the men on the ground. “Domina, are you hurt?” I asked.
She shook her head slowly, eyeing me as if I had grown a third arm. Her eyes trailed down my body and stopped. “You...are bleeding,” she stammered. I looked down to find the slice across my stomach had caught more than my tunic. The cut was shallow though and I knew it wasn't dangerous.
“Please Domina, let me get you to the horse.” I wanted to leave the market immediately. I had no idea if those men were sent specifically for her or if they were only thugs searching for someone to molest. When she didn't move I squeezed her hands. “Domina, we must go.” She seemed to snap out of her shock and followed me to the end of the alley and back out into the market. I swept up the satchel along the way and slung it over my shoulder.
I guided her through the crowd finding the vendor in short order. I tossed him a denarii from the satchel with gratitude and hoisted my Domina into the saddle. I then took the reigns and led the horse through the village. I did not stop until we were outside of the village and my Domina raised her voice, calling my name to halt my progress. I slowed the horse and turned to her, waiting.
She moved as if to dismount so I ran to her and lifted her down. She settled on the ground in front of me and looked at me with tear filled eyes. I opened my mouth to apologize when she abruptly leaned into me wrapping her arms around my waist and burying her head in my shoulder. I felt her body shake with sobs and stood helpless to stop them. My arms moved of their own accord and encircled her body. My hands caressed her back and hair, betraying every moment until now that I had willed them to remain at my side. After a few moments she quieted down and pulled free of my embrace.
“I need to see to your wound,” she said lightly touching my stomach.
“Domina, we must continue on. It will be dark soon,” I reminded her.
She took in her surroundings and shook her head. “We will never make it home before the sun sets.”
“We cannot stay on the road. It is not safe for you, Domina,” I said pleading with her.
“There is an inn, not far from here. It is off the road a bit but we can be there before dark. We will stay the night and continue on in the morning.” She nodded with finality and turned to mount her horse. I assisted her and, for the first time since the fight, noticed my ribs causing me more than a little pain. She must have noticed as well because she looked down at me expectantly and then behind her at the space on the saddle.
This time I did not argue. Taking a breath, I hoisted myself into the saddle behind her and she urged the horse on. She did not lean into me this time, instead deciding to rest her free hand on my thigh as she controlled the reigns. I could tell she was thinking. She has a particular look about her when she is deliberating over something or trying to answer a question.
“I have seen you practice, in the courtyard,” she began softly. “I never understood the movements though I have always thought them beautiful. Even when you would spar with another the danger was never real.” She looked up at me. “It is real now.”
“Domina, I would never hurt you. Please, you must believe me,” I begged. I was certain that now that she knew how dangerous I was that she would sell me or have me sent away.
Her attention was drawn away from me and to the building in the distance. I could see people walking to and fro around the small village and she halted the horse. I took that as my cue to dismount. I landed with a grunt and followed along behind her without another word. She left the horse with a stable slave and entered the inn to make arrangements. I stood waiting just inside the doorway as the innkeeper warily eyed my torn and bloody tunic. I knew my face was also still a collection of bruises from the Dominus and could only imagine the picture I presented.
My Domina finished with him handing over a few coins and motioned for me to follow her up the stairs. She led me to the last door on the far side of the inn. The room was probably the most private available and saved for visiting nobility. Domina entered the room and stopped just inside. I closed the door behind us and when I turned back I found her looking at me strangely.
She stepped toward me quickly causing me to stumble into the door and pressed her lips to mine. My back screamed at me but my heart screamed louder. She kissed me soundly, exploring my mouth with her tongue until finally she released me and we both stood there panting.
“I could never be afraid of you Braun,” she breathed. “Your love for me would never allow you to do me any harm.”
“You...know?” I stammered pressing my palms into the door behind me to steady myself.
She nodded. “I have for some time. And I finally realized that I feel the same for you.”
“Domina, I..” She interrupted me by placing a finger to my lips.
“I am not your Domina tonight. I am a woman, same as you. A woman who loves you and whom you love in return. Be with me, like this...please.”
Please, I had not heard that word directed toward me in many years. I ran both hands up her arms and neck to settle on either side of her face. “I could never deny you,” I whispered and kissed the woman I loved for the first time.
Her fingers tangled into my tunic and she pulled me to her, pressing as much of our bodies together as she could. I felt enveloped by her. My dreams of this moment could not compare to the reality before me. After a breathless moment Domina pulled back and smiled. “I did not know you had such a gift at kissing, Braun. I might have used you for other purposes had I been aware.”
I could feel the blush wash over my skin. “I have not always been your slave Domina.” She cut me a look at my use of her title. “I know you do not wish for me to call you thus, but in my heart it is not a title. You may own my body by law,” I explained bringing her knuckles to my lips and placing a gentle kiss there. “But you also own my heart. There is no other for me.”
She cast her eyes down and laid her head upon my chest. “How is it a simple slave has humbled me so?”
I smiled into her hair. “My wish is not to humble you,” I said bending down to lift her into my arms. “My wish is to pleasure you.” I kissed her again, pouring every bit of emotion into it that I could.
“Now it is you who makes me blush,” she said when I released her lips. I smiled wide and carried her to the single bed in the room. The bed was large for an inn and had a wonderful canopy above it that cast a golden glow across the coverings. I placed her gently on its surface allowing myself to drink her in with my eyes. I knew every curve of her body by memory but it had never been displayed to me in such a manner. I could take my time, let my gaze linger anywhere I pleased. When I met her eyes they were full of tears.
“What is it?” I asked worried.
Domina smiled at me. “I have never had another look upon me as you do. The desire in your eyes burns like a flame.” She then reached up and freed the clasp on her tunic, allowing it to drop away and expose creamy white flesh. “I ponder how much fuel it needs to burn out of control.”
Words escaped my lips unspoken as my eyes took her in. Her skin was flawless and looked as if it would feel like the caress of a morning breeze. I reached out hesitantly trailing my fingertips along the necklace she wore and down her chest. She encircled my wrist in her small hand and pressed my palm to one of her breasts. My fingers began kneading without thought and a deep moan escaped her lips.
My control dissolved so quickly it was as if an animal was loosed from its tether. I pounced upon her pushing her back into the mattress as I claimed her mouth with my own. Domina moaned again as I put my other hand to task lavishing attention on her neglected breast. I fell in love with the sound of her pleasure, wanting to do anything to elicit it once more. I released her mouth and trailed kisses down her neck onto her cleavage as she clutched at my hair.
When my tongue brushed across a pink nipple she arched her back and pressed my head to her body crying out softly. I pulled away looking into her eyes. “Are you well?” I asked. She nodded, quickly moving with me and reclaiming my lips. She continued forward until I was sitting up and I felt her hands unfasten my belt. The buckle gave way and the leather dropped to the bed and slid to the ground. She then released my mouth to lift my tunic over my head.
The fabric was removed and tossed aside as she advanced again only to stop suddenly. Her eyes took in my body and began glistening at the sight of me. I looked down at myself. Bruises mottled my stomach and chest blending together different hues of purple, blue, and green. The cut from the thug had clotted but left a crimson line across my body. My older scars shown starkly against the colored background, standing out in perfect relief. Then I remembered the damage to my back and rued the moment she would see that as well.
Domina slowly reached out and ran her hand over one of the larger bruises. “Are they painful still?” she asked quietly. I had not the fortitude to lie to her and cast my eyes aside. “Do you wish to wait until you are healed?” she asked me. My eyes shot to hers reading her face and seeing her own reluctance there.
“A thousand times no,” I breathed and pressed her to the mattress once again as I took her nipple into my mouth. Her legs parted and encircled my hips pressing me to her anxiously. I moved from her breast and trailed kisses down her stomach, unraveling her robe as I went. I reached the tops of her thighs and felt as her legs settled over my arms.
“Please Braun,” she said to me running her fingers through my hair. That word was even more beautiful the second time it left her tongue. I sent a silent prayer of thanks to Venus as I proceeded to love my Domina. I lavished upon her the attention she deserved, bringing her pleasure time and again. Her body responded to my every touch exciting powerful feelings within me. I tried to make her a part of me, to make us one, so I could always feel her this way.
She took me in with abandon and reveled in my efforts, moaning my name or words of love as she crested, only to demand more. I was more than happy to sate her no matter how long it took. I would have gladly spent the rest of my life in that bed, in that place. There with the exquisitely beautiful woman I loved.
Domina rolled toward me after a short rest kissing my jaw and neck. She wound her fingers around the collar that lay there tugging lightly. “I wish I could remove this for you. To free you from him,” she said.
“Its removal would mean I could no longer be with you. I will gladly wear it to know that every day I awake will be a day blessed with your beauty.”
Her face showed a bitter sweet smile. “You do not despise it?”
I shook my head. “I embrace it. You are a kind and loving mistress to whom I gave myself long ago. Losing it means I will have lost you as well.”
She leaned forward and kissed me sweetly. “Then we shall have to make sure it remains yours.” Her hands traced invisible patterns on my skin lulling me into a state of pleasure. Her touch was softer than any I had felt before and my body rose to meet her. She gave me a love I had not known for many years. A love I missed more than I could admit to myself. A love denied me but now freely given by this magnificent woman.
I felt her everywhere, within me, around me, even through me. Her spirit warmed my soul and her attentions lit my body afire. I spoke to her in hushed whispers begging her to continue. I cried out as the world exploded around me with my climax, clinging to her as if she were the last solid bit of existence. She grounded me, bringing me back to my reality. My heart sang when I realized that this reality was not a dream. I came back into myself still feeling her in my arms and breathing in her scent. My dream had become flesh. My Domina had become my lover. I closed my eyes as she curled into my body letting out a small sigh. We lay that way for some time before Morpheus claimed us both in the night.
When we awoke the next morning we were both ravenous with hunger. The innkeeper obliged us with a large meal to break our fast. It was the most delicious food I had tasted in the last two weeks. My appetite was almost as big as my spirit that morning and I took advantage of the innkeeper's generous kitchen. Domina was delighted to see me eating again and tried not to jest with me too much. With our meal complete we took to the road and headed for home once again.
Domina asked me to ride with her after we were away from the village and I gladly obliged. I searched for any excuse to be next to her or touch her in any way. I knew once we reached our home that I would be relegated to my usual behavior as her slave. I refused to contemplate how I would manage it and instead focused on the feeling of her in my arms.
We made slow progress in our journey but I was unsure if it was intentional or not. Domina seemed reluctant for us to return to our lives after our wonderful night together. I sat lazily in the saddle and let the sun caress my skin as every breath I took held the scent of her.
“If you were free...where would you go?” she asked unsure.
I ran her question through my mind. “When I was first captured I used to dream of returning home. Over time that dream changed and was changed for me. Now, I no longer think of freedom.”
“You do not wish to be free?”
I smiled. “I assure you I do. But spending time dreaming about it can be a cruelty all its own.” I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the top of her head. “I have found my freedom in other things.”
She remained quiet for some time as we lazily made our way along the road. “I do not wish for this to end between us when we return,” she said whistfully.
“I feel the same,” I assured her. She burrowed further into my embrace and I tightened my hold. “But our haven does not extend to the Prefect's household.”
“It is my household as well. I am the one who sees to matters when he is away prostrating himself before any man who could raise his station,” she said bitterly.
“Domina, it would be risking too much. If he found out...”
“And how will he do that?” she interrupted. “He cares not for what happens to me. We were wed for politics and nothing more. He has no need or want of me past providing him an heir.”
I carefully weighed my next words. “The Dominus still waits for his seed to take root.” She tensed at my words.
“And he shall wait for as long as I see fit,” she said coldly.
I chuckled slightly. “I believe you are capable of many things but even that is in the hands of the Gods.”
She lifted her head and looked into my eyes. “I can assure you the Gods have no say in the matter.”
I pondered her meaning. I had heard tell of herbs that would ensure a lack of offspring. They were mostly used by whores and concubines. “Have you done...something to ensure this?” Her eyes told me not to question any further. “What you are toying with is dangerous...” I began.
“Who are you to sit in judgement of me?” she interrupted raising her voice.
I instantly dropped my eyes and lowered my arms to my sides. It was a behavior ingrained in me over many years triggered by a certain tone of voice or gesture. “Apologies Domina,” I said quietly.
Her bravado deflated and she sank against me once again. “You make me happy Braun. I only want that feeling to linger for as long as possible. I refuse to let him dictate that for me as well.” I remained silent not raising my gaze. “Braun please, if you truly do wish my happiness, you will be with me in private. I could manage that until the day ever comes when I can be with you freely.”
I closed my eyes and breathed deeply of her. “If we are discovered...the danger is great.”
“I swear to you, I would free you before he could lay a hand upon you,” she said assuredly.
I shook my head slowly and met her eyes. “I worry not for myself, Domina. I worry for your safety. You have tasted his cruelty when it is unjustified. I could not bear if you were to receive his righteous attentions.”
“I still have some power of my own. I am not as completely helpless as you think,” she said a little insulted.
“If that were true then you would not be as afraid of him as I am. We are of the same station in his mind and he is therefore able to inflict the same punishments.”
Tears sprang to her eyes. “I cannot continue living as I have. I need this, I need you,” she said placing a hand on my chest. “Do not make me sacrifice that which I have just found.”
The danger of one of us getting killed if we were discovered was very real. The Prefect could murder both of us in the middle of the market and no justice would be sought. My mind warred with my heart. I placed my hand over hers as it rested on my chest. “I could never deny you,” said my heart winning.
The days that followed were some of the happiest of my life. I could not remember a time when I felt so content and loved. Being the Domina's body slave allowed me to spend most of my days with her but even if we were separated by our duties, the nights were ours. I normally slept on a pallet at the foot of her bed and that was where I began my evening. Once the rest of the house lay still she would beckon me to her. I would crawl into her bed and lay with her. Sometimes we would talk about something on her mind while I held her and caressed her skin. Other times were spent on more sexually pleasurable experiences.
If the other slaves in the household knew what was transpiring they did not reveal it to either of us. I knew the chances of our relationship remaining a secret among them were slight. Sometimes as I went about my duties I would get a smile or two from the other slaves. Some I considered friends, others were just a constant presence in my life. The looks I received were genuine but not one ever spoke directly of the new development.
One morning I snuck down to the kitchen to gather a tray of fresh sweets for my Domina. She so enjoyed a morning treat and it always served to wake her in a more enjoyable mood. As I prepared a tray with various selections Magda entered the kitchen. She stopped suddenly and eyed me warily. “It is for the Domina,” I told her continuing my task. Her posture relaxed and she continued into the room.
She walked over to a storage space and picked up a clay pitcher of wine bringing it over to me. “Honeyed wine,” she stated setting it on the tray. “It is Domina's favorite,” she explained with a smile. I returned the gesture as I completed the tray. “It is good to see the Domina smile again. You are good for her.”
I stopped in the middle of lifting the tray and looked at her worriedly. “Fear not,” she assured me. “Most in the household know of you both and feel the same. Some may be jealous but grateful as well. She is loved by many here and all we wish is for her to live as well as she has allowed us.”
I smiled at the dark skinned woman. “Thank you,” I said with a slight bow. “Please assure the house that my only wish for her is happiness.”
Magda reached out and placed a hand on my arm. “That has been evident since the day of your arrival. Now go, the Domina shall be waking soon.”
I took my leave of her and returned to my love who was just rousing, or refusing to do so depending on how one viewed the situation. I set the tray down next to her bed and lowered myself down next to her gently. I leaned forward and placed a soft kiss to her lips that caused her to smile. “It is time to rise, Domina,” I whispered.
She curled into me and placed a kiss to my collarbone. “I do not wish to,” she breathed. “I wish for you to stay here, with me, and we shall have a day of hedonistic passion.” She began trailing her hands over my exposed skin.
It took all of my will to deny her. I kissed her again, this time adding a bit of passion to it. She responded immediately and rolled onto her back bringing me with her. “Apologies Domina,” I said when I was able to pull away. “But you must face the day. You have visitors arriving soon.”
She buried her face in my neck. “I had forgotten about them. When are my mother and sister due to arrive?”
“Shortly after midday, Domina.”
“Then I suppose I must greet the day.” Her brow furrowed slightly and she sniffed the air. “Are those honeyed cakes I smell?” she asked with delight.
“Yes, along with your favorite wine and some fresh bread I was able to pilfer from the kitchens,” I told her freeing myself from her embrace and gesturing to the tray with a flourish. “For my Domina's pleasure.”
She leered at me and my body began to redden. “I am able to think of many things that would be my pleasure. Things that only a certain slave can provide for me.”
“As always, your pleasure is my privilege, however I have much to do to ready the house for your mother's arrival.” I rejoined her on the bed placing kisses along her neck and ear. “Would you allow me to revisit your pleasure tonight?”
Domina moaned low in her throat. “I would like to see someone try to prevent me from it.”
I got up from the mattress once again. “Then I shall pray to the Gods for an early sunset this day. May I be excused to tend to other matters as you break your fast?” Domina waved me off as she picked up her first honeyed cake taking a bite.
The Domina's mother and sister arrived on schedule and were ushered to the veranda to refresh themselves from their travels with food and drink. I served them and my Domina and settled on the floor at the side of her lounge when I finished. They spoke mainly of other family members and gossip. Domina asked after her father and brothers who were off seeing to merchant business in Rome . The family worth and station only continued to rise with their success and Domina's mother rejoiced in this with abandon.
Her mother took a sip of wine eyeing my Domina over the rim of her goblet. “There is something different about you my dear. Have you a new skin regimen? You simply glow with happiness.”
Domina smiled. “No Mother, no new regimen.”
“Then what my dear could put a smile so bright upon your face?”
Her sister looked her up and down and must have come to a conclusion because her own smile lit her face like a thousand candles. About the same time I started slightly as I felt my Domina's hand trail across my shoulders and settle there. I dared not move and call any more attention to the gesture. “Oh leave her mother,” her sister said drawing attention away from us. “Let her bask in her happiness whatever its source.”
Her mother surrendered the conversation with a small lift of her goblet and sip of wine. “It is such a lovely day is it not?” her sister asked.
“Why yes,” her mother interjected. “We could not have asked for a better day for travel. Let us hope that our day of departure is so beautiful.”
“Has your garden began to flower?” the sister asked.
“Hmm, yes it has. It shall be in full bloom by the next moon,” said Domina. “We will once again be the envy of the village.”
“As it should be. Nothing but the best for our Prefect my dear,” said her mother.
At the mention of his name my Domina's face fell a bit and I felt her hand withdraw from my shoulder. “Yes of course. Nothing but the best.”
“Nestra, I wish to see it,” said the sister to my Domina. As long as I could remember she had used the shortened version of Domina's name. “Come, take me for a tour.”
Domina rose from the lounge and grasped her sister's hand. “Would you join us mother?”
“Oh no dear. The road is not as kind as it used to be. I wish to rest before we dine this evening.”
Domina nodded and looked to me. “Braun, see Mother to her room and then find me in the garden.”
I quickly rose to my feet and lowered my head. “Yes Domina.” The younger women continued through the courtyard as her mother finished the remainder of her wine. “Your things have been placed in your room Domina Majora,” I said as she stood.
She smiled at me. “I can see why my daughter speaks so highly of you. It is so hard to find a good slave these days. Most of them going on about freedom and such,” she explained with a wave of her hand. “As if such a thing were even possible.” I bowed to her and lead the way to her rooms.
Once she was situated and I had been dismissed I ran off to find my Domina and her sister. I crossed the courtyard in short order and continued into the garden. It was not large by any means but it flourished and finding someone within its depths could take some time. I followed the trail listening for voices to indicate where they might be. Soon I heard them giggling like small girls at play. Not wanting to interrupt, I stopped just outside of their sight around a tall bush.
“So tell me Nestra, how have you been really?”
“I am quite happy,” my Domina responded and I heard the smile in her voice.
“This I can see. But what I really wish to know is who has brought you such happiness.” There was a pause in the conversation and I listened to see what my Domina would reveal. “Come Nestra, I am not so dense as to believe it is that tyrant husband of yours.”
“No, I assure you it is not him.”
“Then who? I simply must know so that I may thank them properly for bringing the light back to my sister's eyes.”
“I...I cannot. If anyone were to find out...”
“I am not just anyone. Besides, why would I expose you? I want whatever is taking place to continue.”
My Domina paused again and I could imagine the look on her face as she thought. “I have your word that this goes no further?”
“Of course Nestra. I swear on the lives of my children.”
“You have no children,” said Domina.
“That is so. But if I did I would gladly swear on their lives.”
Domina laughed a bit at that. “It...it is Braun,” she admitted softly.
“Braun? Your body slave?” her sister exclaimed.
“Shhhh,” Domina insisted. “Yes Braun.”
There was silence for a moment and then her sister continued. “I have heard of women having relations with their slaves but very rarely are they other women.”
“You know as well as I do that I have had proclivities toward the fairer sex for some time,” Domina said.
“True, but I thought you left that behind you when you married Magnus.”
“I did, for as long as I could. But Magnus' cruelty has taken away every bit of joy in my life. Until now.”
“Well, she is a handsome woman. I dare say I have noticed her on more than one visit to your home.” This caused both women to giggle again. “You are being discrete I trust,” her sister asked with a more serious tone.
“We are. I have made sure to maintain normality.”
“Have you? Just now as you were speaking to mother and I you rested your hand upon her shoulder.”
Domina scoffed. “I am allowed to touch my slaves at will. It is not uncommon for a noble woman to do so.”
“True,” her sister conceded. “So, tell me about her. Does she fulfill your needs?”
Domina sighed. “She does in every way.”
“You...you are in love with her.” Domina did not answer. “You are, I can tell by the look upon your face,” exclaimed her sister.
“And what if I am?”
“Nestra, having a slave in your bed is one matter. Letting one into your heart is entirely another. The one is dangerous, the other foolhardy. How are you envisioning this ending for you both?”
“I have yet to think that far ahead.”
“I see,” her sister doubted.
“Can I not have a bit of happiness in my life? Am I not entitled to embrace joy no matter its source?”
“Yes you are, but not at the expense of your life. You are playing a dangerous game with a dangerous man. Plus you are not only sacrificing your own life but that of a helpless slave.”
Domina laughed. “She is far from helpless I can assure you.”
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I dare say she could best the Prefect on a bad day.”
“How did you come to this conclusion?” asked her sister with disbelief.
“Not long ago I took a trip to market. Braun accompanied me as per usual and as we were beginning our journey home I was accosted in an alley.” Her sister gasped. “By three men.” Another gasp.
“Braun came to my rescue. She bested them all with barely an injury to herself. She even killed one of them.”
“What did they want?”
“I haven't a clue. My purse I suppose, or worse, me.”
“Thank the Gods you are okay.”
“No, thank Braun. She put herself between me and my attackers without a thought to her own safety. That is more than I can say for my dear husband.”
“How are things with Magnus?”
“The same. He is away and I am relieved until he returns. Then I count the days until his next departure. The last time he...” Domina stopped herself.
“His cruelty grows with every return. I fear that one day he will...” Domina stopped again and I could hear the fear in her voice.
“Come come little sister. If there were any way I could help, you know I would.”
“Yes, thank you.” Domina took a deep breath. “I pray that he will leave one day and not return.”
“You never know. The Gods do work in mysterious ways do they not?”
“Yes, that they do,” said Domina with a smile in her voice. “I wonder what is keeping Braun.”
My mind was so busy trying to take in the conversation that I almost missed what my Domina had just said. I shook my head and revealed my position as if I had just come around that corner of the garden. Domina looked up at me with so much love in her eyes it almost stopped me in that space. Her sister's face held a look of appreciation. My mind had difficulty reasoning that both women's intentions were directed toward me.
I drew even with the bench they sat upon and knelt down next to my Domina. “Your mother is resting, Domina.”
“Good, did she find her rooms to her liking?”
“She did not say Domina, but she did express her admiration in the Domina's choice of slave,” I said with a smile.
“I must say Nestra, I do agree with mother in this case,” her sister announced with a small yawn.
“Oh apologies sister. You need rest before our meal and I have monopolized all of your time. Braun, see my sister to her rooms then return to your duties. I also wish to rest before supper.”
“Yes Domina,” I said rising. Her sister stood as well and followed me from the garden and across the courtyard. When we drew even with her rooms she placed a hand on my shoulder causing me to look up.
“You have made her happy and for that I am grateful,” she said with a smile. “But you must swear to me one thing.” I nodded waiting for her to continue. “You must swear on your life that you will protect her from that tyrant.”
“I swear it willingly,” I said with conviction.
“Good...good. Then the Gods bless you and keep you safe,” she said and leaned forward placing a chaste kiss on my cheek.” I lowered my head as the blush took over my face and she retired to her rooms.
Later that night after the household had settled I lay in the arms of my Domina. She was in the mood for intimacy rather than lovemaking and I was more than happy to oblige her. She was reclining against a pile of pillows as I lay across her lap. She liked to run her fingers through my hair and across my back as she thought, or we talked, in hushed voices.
“Braun?” she said breaking the silence.
“Mmm, yes Domina?” I answered as my eyelids became heavy from her ministrations.
“Why do you keep your hair short? It is almost like a man's in that way.”
I sighed revelling in her touch. “It is a custom among my people. Warriors, no matter their sex, wear their hair thus.”
“Why is that?” she questioned.
“It is more practical in battle. If an enemy can grab you by the hair they can overtake you. The body follows wherever the head leads,” I explained.
“Have you seen much battle?”
I grew silent for a moment. “More than I would have liked to,” I admitted.
“Is that where you were captured?” she continued.
I shifted and sat up, looking at her. “Such serious matters you speak of at such late an hour,” I said with a smile.
She smiled back. “It is...well, I know nothing of you. I feel the muscle of your body but know not where it comes from. I see the scars on your skin and know not what made them. I feel the passion in your spirit but know not the events that made you so.”
I thought for a moment. It was true that the Domina knew nothing of my time before my service to her. I settled back down across her lap and sighed. “I was once a warrior. My people did not separate the abilities of a person based on sex so I was trained like any man.” She resumed her ministrations as I continued. “When the Romans came I fought alongside my brothers and sisters. The battle was fierce and I watched many of my friends fall to spear and gladius.”
My Domina shifted and wrapped both arms around me. “The scar on my left thigh is from a Roman spear. A soldier ran it through my leg as I tried in vain to protect a fallen soldier. When the Roman pulled my helmet free and discovered I was a woman her refused to kill me. Even as I fought against him he refused the use of deadly force. I was taken to a tent and held prisoner as I healed. When I became healthy they put me in a cage with other women and children and told us we were prisoners of war.”
“How barbaric,” she said as I paused.
“Over half of us died on the ship back to Rome . Those that did not were sold at auction. I was bought by a Lanista in need of women for his gladiators. Even though he was warned I had not been broken he insisted on purchasing me. The night we arrived at the ludus he threw me in a room with one of his fighters. Needless to say, the evening did not turn out as he planned. The next morning when the guards came for me they found the gladiator dead and I very much alive.”
“I am sure that did not sit well with the Lanista,” she said following along.
“No, that it did not. I was punished severely. When the punishment failed to ruin me he decided to win his money back in the arena. I was slated for the games the next week. I was given no training time and barely any food or water. My memory about that time is covered with fog but I remember a soldier handing me a sword and shield and pushing me out into the arena. The man I fought taunted me and soon my anger took hold and quickly turned into rage. The next thing I knew I was standing over his dead body, covered in his blood, and overcome by the roar of the crowd.
“The Lanista had lost many dinarii with my win. I was dragged from the arena and thrown in a cage within its depths. That is where I met the Prefect. He wanted to see the woman that had bested Gregor the Gaul .”
“The Gaul ? I heard he was killed in the arena but not by whom. That was you?” she asked shocked.
“So I have been told. He and I were never formally introduced. The Prefect bought me then and there. The Lanista recovered some of his winnings and I escaped with my life. The Prefect...Dominus, told me that I was to become the slave of his beautiful wife. I was to be responsible for her care and happiness and her protection outside the walls of his home. His collar was placed around my neck and I was led through the streets to his villa. A healer saw to my wounds and I was fed. It was the first bit of kindness I had been shown in a long while.
“When his business was concluded we left the city and came here. He had some of the other slaves prepare me and I was presented to you as a gift. I remember the first time I laid eyes upon you. My breath was snatched from my lungs and I feared my knees would give way at the sight of you. You were a vision from the Gods and as it turned out, my salvation.”
“I remember when he gave you to me. I had been sullen for quite some time and in need of companionship. I guess he thought a body slave would be a good solution,” the Domina said. “It is the only kind thing he has ever done for me.” I lifted myself from her lap and kissed her soundly. “Had I known then what I know now I would not have wasted twelve years of our time together.”
I smiled. “I was content to serve you and nothing more if it meant I was blessed by your presence every day.” My Domina's face reddened at the compliment. “When I met you, it gave me a purpose. Something I could hold fast, something that gave my life meaning. I knew everything I had ever wanted before then was forfeit. There was no freedom in my future. But I could live through my service to you. My life since that moment is in some ways better than the life I had before Rome .”
“How can you say such a thing. My husband has shown you nothing but cruelty since you came. You witness his sadistic pleasures on a normal basis and yet you rejoice in the fact that you are allowed to remain here?”
I reached up and caressed her cheek. “I rejoice in the fact that I was allowed to remain here long enough to have your love bestowed upon me in return.” I kissed her again, this time with all the passion I could muster and all the love I felt in my soul. I then settled back down upon the bed and pulled her to me, holding her until she drifted off to sleep.
The Domina's mother and sister returned home after another week. The time they spent in our home was good for my Domina. They brought her much happiness and she had a friend in her sister that she sorely lacked. The day of their departure we received word that the Dominus would be arriving home the next day. The household immediately began preparations and as I worked with the rest of the slaves to prepare for him, Domina shut herself up in her rooms. When I was finally done with my duties for the day I joined her. She was distraught and crying so I held her and waited for her to explain. When her tears subsided she finally spoke.
“He has been gone long,” she stated. “Every time he returns from a long journey he likes to exercise his...right of husbandry,” she explained. “I do not wish to lay with him,” she said her tears beginning anew.
I wept inside for her. “You could tell him you are in your womanly time,” I suggested.
She shook her head. “He maintains records. He will know I am lying.”
In my heady state of love I had not thought of what would happen when the Dominus returned. My mind reeled at the thought of him touching her. I looked upon my love and saw how distraught she was. How hopeless she seemed and my resolve built within me. “You will do as he tells you,” I stated finally.
She looked at me shocked. “What?”
“You will give yourself to him. You will attend him and love him and all the while you are doing that, you will be thinking of me.” I took her face in my hands. “You will think of me and be loving me in his stead.”
She shook her head. “I...I cannot.”
“You can and you will.”
“I feel as if I am betraying you just speaking of it.”
“It is not betrayal if it is I who insists you do this thing.” I kissed her soundly. “He must think nothing has changed. He must see you as his doting wife and nothing less.” The words left my mouth but my heart was dying a little each time I spoke. I could not let her see how the thought of that man loving her affected me.
“But how can I lay with him when my heart belongs to you?” she asked desperately.
“Because you are strong and I believe you are strong enough to see this through.” Domina buried her face in my neck and sobbed. I caressed her hair and ran my hand over her back in circles. Inside I was warring with myself. Berating myself for asking her to do this. Condemning myself for allowing her to be subjected to that tyrant once again.
Her tears subsided and she looked up at me. “Would you be with me tonight? I will need you fresh in my mind if I am to...”
I laid a finger over her lips. “I am yours for as long as you need me.”
The next morning the house was tense as we all waited for the Dominus to arrive. Arrive he did, complete with entourage and fanfare. You would think the Caesar himself was blessing our humble abode with his presence. I stayed as close to my Domina as possible to lend her my support. The Dominus embraced her lovingly and kissed her, his lips lingering upon hers longer than I liked.
I sat next to my Domina as she graciously entertained him and his followers. Outwardly she seemed at ease and glad to have him home. Inwardly I knew she was hopelessly anticipating tonight. I hid my own despair at the thought of what she would be forced to do. I put on a brave face for her and performed my duties admirably.
The Dominus ignore her for most of the afternoon and evening until she excused herself to her rooms. I followed as she turned in and helped her ready herself for his arrival. She and I both knew it was only a matter of time before her entered and dismissed me to continue his merriment.
It was not long before he strode in, drink in hand, his eyes trailing the room until they found her. I was kneeling off to the side of the room behind the head of the bed. His eyes landed upon me but instead of sending me away he just smiled. He was in the mood for an audience. I had heard from some of the other slaves that he liked to include others in their bed and I prayed to Venus that we would not order me to do so. Having to sit here and watch him ravish my love, my Domina, would almost ruin me as it was.
“Husband,” Domina said with a hitch in her voice. “Are we not to be alone?”
“Not tonight,” he said draining his goblet. He tossed it aside and it clanged against the marble floor making her jump. He then advanced on her, taking her in his arms and kissing her sloppily. He began to roughly remove her robes as he maneuvered her towards the bed. When the clasp did not give way immediately he ripped them the rest of the way off.
The backs of Domina's knees hit the mattress and she fell backward with him atop her. She turned her head toward me as he kissed down her neck and her eyes met mine. “Think of me,” I mouthed to her and she nodded closing her eyes. I saw her brow furrow in concentration and then it relaxed, along with the rest of her body.
She pushed against him until he sat up. “Do not deny me,” he said with warning.
“I would not dream of such a thing,” she said smiling at him. She rose from the bed and turned him around beginning to unfasten his belt. “I only wish to pleasure you.” She pressed him back into the mattress, removing his robes before she lay him back fully. “I have missed you,” she said kissing her way up his body.
“Is that so?” he asked completely enjoying this new side of his wife.
“Mmm, hmm,” she murmured climbing atop him as she rested her hands on his chest. My mind flashed back to a night when she had done the same to me. I could almost feel her thighs settle around my hips again.
Domina glanced up at me, her eyes smouldering. She never looked away as she proceeded to roll her hips and move atop him. I was blessedly unable to see anything below my Domina's neck line due to the frame of the bed. It made it easier for me to maintain eye contact with her. She pulled me in with her gaze. It was hungry and desperate and I fought to remain where I was.
“I see you enjoy having your little pet watch,” he said with a grunt. She did not answer him verbally but his following moan let me know he got some sort of response. “Shall we have her join us?” he asked.
Domina's eyes broke away and looked down at him. “Why would I want to share you?”
She increased her pace and before long he was groaning out his release. He lay still for a moment then recovered and the Domina removed herself from him. He rose from the bed naked, swiping another goblet of wine from the table near him. He emptied it and with a mighty belch, strode from the room without a look back.
My Domina sat upon the bed in silence. When I was sure we were to be left alone I rose and walked to her. I stood beside the bed in front of her waiting. I did not know if I should hold her. If my touch would be wanted. If she was angry with me for asking this of her.
She did not bother to look at me. She only wrapped her arms around my waist and buried her head in my stomach sobbing. I knelt down in front of her pulling her to me, holding her in my arms for all I was worth. After a breath she pulled away and asked for her kit. Puzzled, I retrieved it for her and she requested a fresh goblet of wine. I poured it as requested and handed that to her as well. She pulled a small packet from her kit and emptied the contents into the wine causing it to bubble a small amount.
When the bubbles subsided she upended the goblet and drank the entire contents down quickly. I watched her gag a little when she finished and she handed me the goblet once more. I freshened it for her again and she drank half of it down before stopping. “Do you do this every time?” She nodded. “I would wonder why you were so ill the morning after he arrived.”
“Now you know,” she said, her throat raspy from the herbs.
I placed both hands on her thighs as she sat on the side of the bed. “I...”
“Do not, please,” she interrupted me. “What is done is done. I do not wish to dwell on it.”
“Apologies Domina,” I said bowing my head.
She reached down and lifted my chin. “He will be gone the rest of the evening. Stay with me. I will need you when the herbs take effect.” I nodded my head.
She guided me up onto the bed next to her and I laid there stroking her back. Her flesh began to cool so I pulled the linens from the bed up around her shoulders and rocked her to sleep. She awoke a short time later and had me help her into the bathing chamber. Once there she emptied the contents of her stomach violently. When there was no more to purge I drew a warm bath and lowered her into it. She soaked until the water became tepid and I helped her back to bed. For the rest of the evening she would alternate between shivers and fever, all the while clinging to me as if her life depended on it. I sat helpless, crying silent tears as I watched over my love.
The next morning brought the warm rays of the sun and I awoke next to my Domina. She had regained some of the normal color to her skin for which I was grateful. I gently removed myself from beneath her as I left her room for the kitchens. I knew from experience that she would need some tea, bread, and bland meats when she finally awoke. As I prepared her tray I vowed to myself that I would find a way to free her from this torment. I did not know how, but by the will of Jupiter I would make this happen.
That afternoon Domina was summoned to entertain the Dominus and his guests. She sent word of illness and begged his pardon for the evening remaining in her rooms. He must have been used to this outcome for he did not press the issue and I was able to remain with her to see to her needs and nurse her as best I could. I drew a warm bath for her and washed her body as she soaked. I removed the soiled sheets from her bed and replaced them with fresh ones warmed by the sun. Slowly her mood improved the longer we remained in each other's company.
I was happy to see her regain her color fully and even begin to joke with me as I cleaned her rooms. The night came quickly and we could hear the Dominus rejoicing with his guests at the other end of the house. Domina dismissed the last of the slaves who came to retrieve the remnants of her meal and we were left alone.
“Will he visit you again tonight?” I asked hesitantly.
“No, tonight he will drink and revel in the company of his whores,” she spat. “I know not why I care. It keeps him from my presence and that is all that matters.”
“Am I free to remain with you?”
Domina smiled. “I would not wish any less.” She held her hand out to me and I joined her upon the bed. I held her for some time as she shifted every moment or two trying to find comfort.
“Are you not well Domina?”
“No, I am well. They are only sore muscles and nothing more.”
I shifted out from under her and rose from the bed. “Allow me to rub them for you.”
“I did not know you possessed that particular skill,” she said with a teasing smile.
“Then allow me to educate you,” I said in return. She nodded and lay down atop the mattress exposing her back to me. I retrieved a small bottle of oil from a shelf across the room and returned to settle on my knees next to her. I poured a bit of the oil into my hands and warmed it before applying it to her skin. I kneaded the muscles there deeply feeling the tension release.
Domina moaned. “This surprise is indeed in my favour,” she said with a sigh.
“I am happy you approve,” I said moving lower. I rubbed my way down her back and across her hips and then further down both legs. “Would you care to turn over Domina?”
She did as I bid with a genuine smile on her face. “I am feeling much more like myself. Gratitude my love.”
The statement made me smile and I leaned over slowly, kissing her full lips. She responded to me instantly and soon the simple kissed turned into more. I could feel her body begin to respond to my touch as so many times before and lost track of my surroundings. It was a moment I would pay for dearly.
“Beginning without me?” said the Dominus from the doorway. I started and sat back casting my eyes aside. Domina was stunned but took only seconds to react, rising from the bed. “What happens here?” he asked. with a lecherous smirk.
“Husband...Braun was relieving my tension with massage,” she said.
“I see. And the massage of your tongue and breast were important in this?” he asked fully moving into the room. He eyed me suspiciously as he drew even with her. He took her in his arms, kissing her bruisingly as he watched my face for reaction.
It took all my will to lower myself to my knees instead of lunging at him in a rage. He recognized the look on my face and severed the kiss, slapping my Domina across the face. “You refuse to entertain me and instead lavish your attentions on her? Are my needs so small in your eyes that they may be replaced by yours, or worse, the needs of a slave?”
“N...no husband. Please, it is as I explained,” said Domina holding the side of her face.
He bent low and roughly grabbed her by the back of her hair. “Do you believe me a fool?”
“No, no...please..” she begged as he dragged her to her feet. He slapped her again, harder this time, and she fell back to her knees.
I could take no more. My senses were useless to me as I ran at him. I tackled him to the floor landing a few blows to his face before he was able to push me from him. He was on me in seconds, his large frame pinning me down. I struggled to free myself until I noticed the blade in his hand. “Move and I will gut her here in front of you,” he yelled pointing the blade at my Domina. I stopped struggling knowing that he could have run her through before I was even able to move a muscle. “So, the slave has bite,” he said laughing. “And all for this whore? Please do not tell me you love her.”
My eyes looked directly at him defiantly. “I love her more than you love yourself,” I spat.
“Braun no,” gasped my Domina.
The Dominus laughed. “Then let us see how much you love her in death,” he growled and plunged the dagger into my side.
I gasped as my Domina screamed my name. She moved to come to me but was held at bay by the Dominus. I looked down at my side as the blood began to seep from my flesh. I knew it was not a mortal wound. I had seen many of them in battle. He meant only to cause me pain and watch me suffer.
“Guards!” he bellowed as he rose from the floor and held the Domina by her neck. Four soldiers rushed into the room and took in the scene. “Stake her in the courtyard. Let the sun greet her naked flesh.”
Two of the men roughly hauled me from the floor and dragged me from the room. I had no breath for words as I heard my Domina scream in fear at my removal. I was dragged through the house and out into the courtyard for all to see. The guards then stripped me of my tunic and laid me flat upon the stone. Ropes were tied around my wrists and ankles then stretched to meet stakes that were pounded into the ground.
When I was fully bound the soldiers left me to the night air, returning to their revelry inside the house. My side burned but my heart burned hotter. I could hear in the distance the sound of my Domina crying. I also heard the sound of him beating her and destroying her rooms. I prayed to the Gods that one of his guests would intervene on her behalf but the party continued unheeded.
My soul wept as I lay there for the remainder of the night. I prayed as time when on to hear my Domina's screams for they had died long ago and I was unsure if she had died with them. The night gave way to day and as the sun rose it began to bake my skin. By the time it was full in the sky my skin was bright red and I had ceased to sweat.
I drifted in and out of consciousness as my body tried to heal and protect itself. At some point someone tossed a bucket of water over me and I awoke. “Ah, you are alive.” It was the Dominus, no doubt here to survey his handiwork. He kicked me in the side and then bent down next to me as I gasped for air.
“I found her herbs. The ones she has been using to defy me and rob me of an heir. No doubt they were your idea,” he said angrily and punched me in the face. “How long have you been manipulating her? Since you arrived? Since my first campaign?” I refused to answer him knowing I could say nothing he wished to hear.
He silently rose and parted the bottom of his robe. With cock in hand he proceeded to piss upon my open wound and burnt skin. I clamped my jaw closed not wanting to give him the satisfaction of hearing me cry out. When he was finished he looked down upon me and smiled. “My wife is quite the lover, but I am sure you know this already. I do so enjoy hearing her scream.” He then turned and walked back into the house.
The day continued on as I heard soldiers and guards moving about in the courtyard. None came to my aid. Neither did any of the slaves of the house. They were all too afraid of the Dominus and incurring his wrath. The wrath of the Prefect. As the sun began to set again the courtyard cleared and everyone retired for a meal. I registered the sound of clanging metal somewhere on the property but it meant nothing to me.
I must have lost consciousness again because the next thing I was aware of was having my face wiped with a cool cloth. I opened my eyes to find a woman kneeling above me. It was Syma. She cleaned my head and neck with water and gently washed my wound. Once finished she lifted my head and allowed me to drink. When my throat was wet once again I asked about the Domina.
“She lives though I do not know for how long,” she said sadly. “He will not allow any of us into the room.” She turned her head quickly hearing a noise. “I must go. Forgive me for not being able to do more.” With that she was off again and I was alone. I struggled in vain against my bonds rubbing my wrists and ankles raw. I lay there panting from the effort when again the Dominus appeared above me.
“I am pleased to see you still remain with us. Come, I have a surprise for you.” I was cut free and doused with a few buckets of water then dragged between two guards back through the house into my Domina's rooms. She lay tied to the bed, legs and arms spread. Her face was badly bruised along with other parts of her body and I wept. I was dropped to the floor as metal shackles were affixed to my wrists and a metal collar placed around my neck. The chain connecting them was then looped through a new iron ring embedded in the floor.
“Now that we are all here the real fun may begin.” He acted as though this were a celebration and he the guest of honor. He dismissed the guards and turned his attention to my Domina. “You have been so gracious a host my dear. I thought it only fair to return the favour and allow you to see your slave once again.” The Domina groggily turned her head and peered at me from inside swollen eyes.
“Br...Braun?” she rasped. My chains rattled as I struggled to reach her.
“Oh how sweet,” he mocked. He caressed her face lightly as he spoke. “Even shackled so, she still tries to reach you.” He raised his hand then and slapped her soundly. She made no sound. I struggled harder, my effort reopening the wound at my side. “See how she bleeds for you?” he asked her and turned her head in my direction.
I could see tears form in her eyes and spill forth down her face. As she cried the Dominus parted his robes and entered her roughly. She grunted in pain but never took her eyes from mine. “Domina please forgive me,” I begged her. “The Gods please forgive me!”
The Dominus grunted out his climax and turned to me. “The Gods do not even know you exist slave!” he said laughing. At that moment, kneeling there, shackled to floor like an animal as my love was raped in front of my eyes, something in my soul broke.
“Fuck you, you worthless piece of refuse,” I muttered at him.
“What's this?” he asked intrigued. “Has the heat of the sun taken your mind from you?”
“Are you such a coward that you have not the courage to face me? Are you so afraid that I will best you that you must take advantage of a weaker person?” I asked in a low voice.
“Surely you have lost all your faculties. Me, afraid of a fucking slave? That is beyond laughable!” he bellowed.
I smiled in return. “I could kill you with these shackles on. I could rip out your heart with my bare hands before you were ever to lay a finger upon me.”
“Is this so? Perhaps you would like to attempt this feat of heroics.” My eyes burned with hatred and rage and he recognized it for the challenge it was. “Very well.” The Dominus called for his guards and I was loosed from the floor and dragged back out to the courtyard as he followed. He laughed as we continued on, yelling for his guests to come and be privy to the comedy about to ensue.
I was pushed to my knees on the stone and the Dominus removed his sword belt, unsheathing the weapon in the process. I stood to my feet slowly, adrenaline and hatred fueling me on. I would rip him limb from limb this night if I had to die trying. He would never touch my Domina again.
His guards and soldiers gathered around to bear witness as we fought. Even some of the house slaves were present. “I ask that all witness, this be a fight to the death,” I yelled.
“Yes, yes, your death,” he mocked.
I pointed at him with iron clad wrists. “You word that no one is to intervene and if I win there will be no repercussion to myself or the Domina.”
He sighed. “Yes, yes. Philemon,” he called.
“Yes Prefect?” said one of the guards.
“See to it that this remains a fair fight.”
“Prefect, this is madness. There is no honor here. She is but a woman...”
The Dominus rounded on him with his blade. “Do you wish to join her?”
Philemon looked piteously at me and then back to the Dominus. “No Prefect. Your will be done,” he said with a bow and then stepped away.
The Dominus began to circle me and I turned with him not wanting to expose my back. He lunged and I stepped aside. He lunged again and once again I stepped aside. “Shall we fight or dance!” he raged at me. When he advanced again I evaded him and came around his flank to bash a metal shackle into his head. He staggered away holding a hand to his scalp.
When he pulled his hand away it was covered in blood. The sight enraged the Dominus further and he blindly ran at me. It was a mistake he would regret. He plunged his sword haphazardly toward me and I wrapped the chain of my shackles around the blade and twisted. This loosed his sword from his grip and it fell to the dirt some distance away. The shock on his face barely registered to me as I once again rammed the iron about my wrist into his face.
The Dominus staggered away falling to his knee. I gave him no quarter and advanced on him faster than he thought possible. My knee impacted with his face and he fell back into the dirt. As I bent to wrap my hand around his throat he rammed his fist into the wound at my side. I wheezed and the air left my lungs. Stars began to appear in my vision as I gasped against the pain trying to pull air into my body. Both of our concentrations were shattered when the Domina screamed my name.
My head whipped around to see her leaning heavily against Syma and one of the courtyard pillars as she looked on. The Dominus recovered more quickly than I and laid me flat with another punch to the midsection. Once I hit the ground he was upon me raining blows down on my head. I put my arms up to block him as best I could but I could feel my energy seeping from me faster than I had hoped.
“Too bad you will not be here to hear her scream. I plan to have my guards take turns with her before I slit her throat,” he growled into my ear. I planted my legs beneath me and surged upward with all my might surprising him. He fell to the side as I unseated him and I crawled upon his back. Gripping his head I kneed him twice in the ribs preventing him from rising again. As he fought to pull air into his lungs I wrapped the chain binding my wrists around his throat and pulled tight.
He struggled, eyes bulging and hands clawing at my arms. He then reached toward Philemon. “Fool...help me...” he choked out.
“Apologies Prefect but you gave your order,” said Philemon with a smirk. “Any man who moves will answer to me,” he called out to the soldiers behind him.
I tightened my grip effectively cutting off the rest of his airway and leaned down next to his ear. “Die knowing a slave brought you to your knees,” I whispered to him. A final sound was wrestled from his throat and then his body went limp in my arms. I tightened my grip further making sure the job was complete, focusing on the sound and feel of his neck as it snapped beneath my chains.
I tossed him aside and staggered to my feet. Philemon approached slowly with his arms out and bare. I stared him down with a wild look on my face. He slowly bent down drawing a key from the robes of the prefect and showed it to me. I nodded once to him allowing him to release me from my bonds. I heard a sob off to my left and turned to find my Domina struggling towards me.
I closed the distance between us and held her in my arms as she cried. “Shh, it is over now. I promise he is gone forever.” She lifted her face to mine and captured my lips in the sweetest kiss I could ever recall or can still remember to this day.
“I love you, Braun,” she whispered to me.
“As I you, Domina,” I said tightening my hold on her once more.
Weeks passed and we both healed slowly. We spent many hours in each other's arms as we let the world pass us by. It happened that the house and land was the property of the Domina's family so she was not forced to leave her home. Her eldest brother became owner and saw no reason to change the current status of the holding. He neither wished to leave his current location or take on the additional responsibility of the holding so Domina was allowed to remain as head of the estate while her family carried on with business in their side of Rome .
Philemon became the next prefect by appointment from a senator. Apparently the Dominus had made many enemies in his day and his death was neither mourned nor noted. Business and politics went on as usual. The new Prefect was content to let us live as we chose and the Domina made it known that he was always welcome within her walls. Philemon thanked me privately for ridding him of his rival. I made sure to take the opportunity to inform him that the same could be done to him if he abused his power like his predecessor. For some reason he saw fit to take me at my word and has treated me as an equal since that moment.
As days passed the Domina grew large with child. She had indeed ended up pregnant after that fateful night but chose to maintain the pregnancy. We spoke at length of her wishes and mine and decided that we would not curse the child for its father's sins. It took time for her to become comfortable with the notion.
We lay in bed one night and I was awakened by the sound of her crying quietly. I rolled over taking her into my arms. “What is it my love?”
She buried her face in my neck and wept. “What if I can not bear to look upon this child because it reminds me of him?”
I sighed and caressed her hair. “This child is only part of him. It is also part of you and I know the part of your soul it shares is stronger than any contribution he could have made. Your kindness and love will mold it into a person you will be proud to call your son or daughter.”
I felt her smile into my skin and she pulled back. “You do not plan to assist me in its upbringing?” she asked.
I smiled as well. “I will do all that you ask of me and more my Domina.”
Her look turned contemplative and I reached out to smooth the furrow in her brow. She reached up and wrapped her fingers around the front of my collar. “I wish something Braun,” she said.
“You have only to ask and I will make it so,” I told her.
“I wish to know you remain because of your love for me and not out of duty,” she said casting her eyes down.
My breath was stolen from my body. “My Domina, have I done something to make you think my love for you is not real?”
“No, no, nothing of the sort. But as long as you are bound by this collar...I fear I will harbor a guilt that I am forcing you to feel the way you do,” she said caressing the metal around my neck.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” I said hugging her to me. “Collar or no, my heart belongs to you and there is no place I would rather be.”
Domina pulled away from me and removed a string from around her neck. Upon it there was a key. I recognized it from the day the Dominus placed the thin strip of metal around my neck. She silently reached around me and I heard a soft click. The collar fell from my neck onto my lap and I could only stare.
“Now you are truly free to do as you wish,” said Domina softly.
I looked deeply into her eyes and brought a palm up to cup her cheek. “Then I wish to remain here with you. To help you raise our child. To love you and bring you happiness for the rest of your days.” She looked away from me and I gently brought her eyes back to mine. “Nestra, I love you. No piece of metal could change that.”
Her smile lit her face bright with love and she wrapped herself about me. I leaned us back into a pile of pillows and made small circles over her back as she lay content. I was a free woman now. Free to see that my life changed only for the better and that my future would forever be entwined with hers. I was free to ensure her happiness for as long as I drew breath.
The EndReturn to the Academy