It Only a Dream Can Be
I froze in place hearing my name. These people were not stupid, but had learned that I was not going to stop in my duties without a clear sign that they wanted me. They really had not learned why I was willing to let each day pass, but had come to accept that I would go about doing my work allowing time to go by without any comment or complaint. While I did not believe there was any intent to do me harm, I froze in place worried about the reason they called my name.
The hand of a man connected a chain to that about my neck. My clothes were delicate to show off my body. While this land had taboos about nudity as much as most others, the men were just as anxious to see a naked lady. As a slave I had no choice about what I wore, although was relieved that there were rules about how immodest I could be forced to go about. Delicate bands of a silvery metal that did not tarnish had been welded around my wrists, ankles, and my neck. Those on my appendages stated who owned me with the one about my neck having a loop so a chain could be connected and give someone control of me.
I followed the soldier to a place on the floor to the left of the throne, then knelt before he could push me down. While I kept my eyes to the floor, I had the training to work with my peripheral vision. It relieved me to see the ruler of this land not looking at me. If he had been, I would know to concern myself with what he said. As it was, I suspected the soldier would be quickly commanded to return me to my duties.
From the throne came an almost mumbled question, “Inchell, any further word from the one you were so eager to spend time with?”
In a very meek voice, I replied, “None, my lord. I have told you that I have no knowledge of certain things.”
“I find that surprising. While it is true that you do not have the time of a woman, there is no doubt that you are a woman. I am being offered money to purchase you.”
“You can do with me as you would.”
“Honestly, I can’t. You see, I cannot determine where you are from. That means I cannot justify my claim over you. What would you say to me saying that Constable Nebian put you into slavery without cause?”
I lifted my right hand while saying, “These are not the bands of a common slave. He might have put me into slavery without cause, but he put me into slavery to gain your good pleasure. He however did not know about a certain condition of mine, an impurity, which kept you from being able to be pleased with me. All I will say is that I have a good bed, good food, and no reason to complain. Also, when the stranger came with me desiring to spend time with him, you allowed it. Considering the loss of these bands to also mean the end of my service, I would rather keep them.”
“I have made inquiries concerning you, Inchell, and I have not liked what I have heard. What I have heard is that you are from a land called Davelda, and for me to keep you will spell my doom.”
Knowing that this land did not consider a partial truth to be a lie, I calmly replied, “I can tell you for a fact that is not true. You treat me well, and you will not be harmed. However, again, when I request to spend time with someone, allow it.”
“I would call you a liar, but I cannot. That man you spent time with was not from Davelda.”
“He was a kind, gracious man, my lord. He helped your people, so you would have been wrong to speak against him. The fact that he allowed me an audience, audiences, only speaks to his benevolent nature.”
“What land was he from, Inchell?”
That was a direct question, so not to answer, even to be evasive, would be wrong. “Sennapre, my lord.”
“Are you from Sennapre?”
“No, my lord, although I know many that are.”
“So, you were seeking to make contact.”
I was worried about answering that question, but knew to be more worried should I lie. “Yes, my lord.”
“No. I know enough to not need to be specific.”
“Are you royalty, Inchell?”
I easily kept my eyes to the floor while answering, “No, my lord, but only a soldier.”
“It should not surprise you that someone in my condition is simply a soldier.”
Worried about how my words would be taken, I said, “Not in any manner you would define the word. Let me warn you, my lord, that any further inquiry about my reason for being here would force a familiarity with me that is presently beyond our social statuses.”
“I see. Then one more question. Do you believe this Makinor will make the contact you desire?”
I smiled feeling the pull to return to my feet. There was no doubt in my mind that Sheik Brelask wanted to ask another question, but he abided by his statement that there would be just one more. That would not keep him from asking questions on other days, but then he would have to restart the line of questioning, which could allow me to again be evasive. Feeling the chain removed from the delicate metal collar around my neck, I quietly returned to my work.
The life in this castle was not bad. I did not have hazardous or really stressful duties. The futon provided enough padding to give me comfort, and the blankets were soft enough to make cold nights pleasant. The food was good. I honestly considered this employment to be much more enjoyable than my life in the military.
I actually thought it cute how men would watch me as I performed certain exercises and katas, but due to the fact I could not get pregnant none would have sex with me. I did have the proper equipment. I would enjoy the time. They however had their rules and I had the pleasure of experiencing the degrading existence of being a woman without the horrors men would force upon members of my gender.
Of course, after centuries of life I recognized when someone would try to dominate me. Hearing a man yell my name, I strongly called out for a soldier. Of course I went ahead and faced the wall. I knew enough about being with a man that he would not get me without me also getting him. Part of being a woman was however not allowing a man to realize that. Feeling a hand grab my neck, I wondered if he realized that I actually enjoyed the play of seeing who might dominate the other.
“’A spy as you would define it?’ A spy is a spy. You, my lovely, are going to learn things about being a spy.”
I replied, “I said I was a soldier. Out of duty you may do with me as you will, as letting you learn things about being my enemy will not serve me well.”
From a distance, I heard, “Yes, it will. Do it!”
The man had grabbed my neck, not my hands. One went to his ear. That was not a place the man expected, so as he thought about how to respond I had a leg move around one of his while my body only twisted. As he tried to wrap an arm about my waist, he found my control of his leg to throw him off balance. Now I shifted my weight to assure he ended up on the floor. A heel went into a spot where a kidney would be. As he responded, the other foot went to one side of his neck. As I turned to send my other foot against a jaw to break the neck, I heard my master make another command.
When a soldier was told to restrain me, I went to a wall. As expected, all that happened was again a simple chain was connected to the band about my neck. When told to kneel, I did so keeping my eyes to the ground. It took work to hide a smile, as I could tell the soldier holding me was nervous.
Finally, I heard the sounds of soft feet, those of a man in padded shoes, before hearing the question, “You would have killed him?”
“Yes,” I answered. “I felt no reason to allow him to live.”
“I told you that you were treating me well.”
“And if I desired to take you to bed?
Honestly, I knew that he could not ask that question, so calmly replied, “I will not answer that.”
“Because it would force a familiarity with me that is presently beyond our social statuses.”
“You’re a woman. What do you think I cannot do with you?”
The man had probably meant to be demeaning, but I recognized his words as those of someone stepping beyond his station. “The very fact you asked that question shows that you don’t know a damn thing about what you could do with a woman.”
“It seems that you do know what to do with a man.”
That was said in a calm manner, so I felt free to respond in with a more polite selection of words. “I thought I did once. I once felt that I had a number of answers. That was however taken from me, so I went in search of answers. I came here. As in the case of any search for something elusive, I am not yet certain if I was on the correct path or not.”
“That Makinor was –“
While I understood it was improper for me to interrupt him, I felt the need to also step beyond my station. “The champion of a goddess of love.”
“You’re looking for love?” The man, my master, knelt to take my jaw and force me to look at him as he asked, “You’re looking for love?”
“I’m a soldier. I know how to fight. The ones I know on Sennapre are both connected to He-Who-Fights. One found love. A marvelous lady of gold. The other, the one I found Makinor to know, is of nobility of the land I call home. He spoke of her seeking love, but so far being unsuccessful. I am hoping for that one, also a lady, to come and take me from you on a journey for the two of us to find success.”
“And I need not fear this lady?”
“He loved her. Makinor loved her. I could see it in his eyes and not just hear it in his voice. Their two gods are opposed, but there was a connection made between them. No, as long as you care for me, there is no need to fear her.”
He turned his head. I could not help but continue to smile having my peripheral catch the kneeling form of the man I had almost killed. While I was being interrogated, he was being detained. As for social dignity, he was actually being treated worse than me. I saw his head drop to only look at the ground as my master made a comment to him.
“That lady sounds like a wife for you.”
I mumbled, “He would not survive her any more than he was going to survive me. That man, whoever he might be, would need to treat her properly, and love every minute of her.”
My master put his focus back on me as he asked, “And what of you?”
“Makinor is a champion of She-Who-Loves. The lady I am hoping to come is the champion of He-Who-Fights. What matters to me is that they both represent gods. If anyone is going to help me, it will be a god.”
“Then why did you come here? We have no gods.”
“Yes, you do. I came here because I believe I understand this place. I believe I know where to look. I told you the lady is a princess of my home. She will understand what I tell her, and with her connection to a god I believe we can discover your God together.”
“You’re a fool.”
He kissed me. It was one thing for him to talk to me in a certain manner, but an entirely different thing for him to show me affection. I had no problem with kissing, and let my master know it in how my lips met his.
He then rose while saying, “Inchell, I presently need to decide what I am going to do with you. Suddenly, you are much more valuable than what that man, or any man, would pay for you. How long do you feel you will need to wait?”
I definitely was not going to tell him one thing about me, so only said, “I am hoping for the attention of deities, and they have their own concept of time. You should not have seen me acting anxious at all.”
“That is true. If not for the lusts of certain men, I would not have concerned myself with you at all. Return to your duties, Inchell. I am going to hope that I have enough time to make some decisions about you.”
Jelnaya is not certain about the mission, but she is working with what information she has.