Chapter 4, part 2
Makan stood over his latest slave, grinning viciously. A whip hung from his hand and red welts, some bleeding slightly, crossed her body. She’d tried to cover herself from his first blows, but that had infuriated him. With the help of some stone faced servants she had been tied to the bed so he could whip her freely.
Now he dropped the whip and stared at her. Tears ran down her cheeks and she lay panting and sobbing on the bed. Her body was covered in sweat and red lines. Makan loved the feeling of power that breaking in a slave gave him, and this one in particular was the best he’d ever had.
“Enough foreplay, I think you’re ready for me now,” he growled at her.
He took off his robe and let it fall to the ground. He untied her legs and nodded appreciatively when they lay trembling on the bed. He slipped up between her legs and grabbed her feet, pulling her legs upwards and displaying her obscenely to him.
“Don’t worry, my pretty, this time I’m going to teach you a new way to serve me,” he said, watching her closely for a reaction.
Annalyse could handle the pain. It hurt badly, and it made her body betray her and tremble, but her mind could cope with it. Pain was life. It reminded her that she was still alive and that so long as she remained alive there was hope. She might one day avenge herself against the son of a bitch that raped her day after day; she might yet see her sister and father and her people again; she might one day return with the armies of Nordlamar and crush the Kingdom.
But the realization of what was about to happen to her struck a chord of terror in her. She felt him brushing against her, seeking her opening and she writhed on the bed, trying to break free. Her body was weak, undernourished and abused. He laughed, enjoying the fight.
Anna’s mouth opened and a tortured moan came out when she felt him hit home. He forced himself into her sending a tearing sensation through her bowels. She felt the sudden wetness and knew that something really had torn, for her blood was serving as the only lubricant that would be provided where he was. She shuddered and tried to fight again, but her body was finished.
Makan laughed again as she collapsed under him. She glared at him, tears streaming from her eyes, and then they began to close. He rutted against her, filling her repeatedly. His perverse excitement spared her life, for he was unable to last very long. He grunted and, after a final vindictive thrust into her bowels, he pulled free of her.
“Look at me, slave!” He ordered, slapping her on the face roughly.
The slave opened her eyes and he looked into them, chucking happily. He was somewhat disappointed though, for his sport was over. Her eyes possessed a dull glaze that he’d seen in some soldiers who’d spent too much time fighting. A thousand yard stare, they called it. She was done, her will was broken. He’d broken her at last.
Makan turned and picked up his robe. He put it about him, wiping himself clean with a linen beside the bed, and turned to the door. He bade a servant to open it and watched as two other servants came through the door, one with a pot of water and the other with some rags to wash the slave with.
Something else caught his eye then, movement in the passage. He glanced up and saw another servant, though this one had a fire in his eyes. Makan gasped, realizing he was no servant.
Old but still spry, Makan stumbled backwards and took only a shallow cut on his arm from the sword in the man’s hand. He backed away and realized that the only way out of the room was through the invader.
Corillius kicked the door shut behind him, glaring at the servants and then at Makan. The servants cowered, hiding as far from him as possible. Corillius advanced slowly upon the older man, sword held in front of him at the ready.
“Untie her!” Corillius demanded of the servants that were huddled near the bed. They looked to each other and the closer one reached up and started furiously working the knots binding her wrists.
The Nordlander waited impatiently. He’d seen the way Makan had reacted and he knew the man was a dangerous fighter. He was going to kill him, but first he wanted to make certain Anna was safe. It had taken him very little time to find out which brothel Makan favored, with the help of a few well placed bribes. He still hoped to join up with his warriors before they moved out on the following day.
“Who are you?” Makan asked, trying to prolong things so he would have a chance to turn the situation to his advantage.
Corillius’ eyes held a deadly promise for the Baron. “Be silent,” was all he said.
“One yell and the guards will rush in here,” Makan bluffed.
“I said, be silent!” Corillius again warned him. Then he added, “The sound in these rooms is deadened, there is no escape for you.”
“Then I might as well charge you now,” Makan said, eyes narrowing as he judged the man.
“Yes, you might as well.”
Makan instead stood his ground, waiting to see what might happen next.
“Anna, get up,” Corillius said, his voice a little softer.
Anna didn’t move at first. Then she woodenly rose and, wincing from the torture her body had endured, made her way over to him. She stood next to him numbly. Corillius glanced at her and felt despair. The rag doll standing next to him wasn’t his cousin, just a beaten girl who looked like her.
He turned back to Makan, fresh rage simmering in his eyes. The crafty baron had started to edge towards him but now he backed away again, seeing the big Nordlander’s expression. Cor advanced on him, sword held at the ready. Makan held his hands out and low, a submissive gesture but also a stance that would let him spring quickly if he needed to. Blood dripped from Makan’s right hand from the earlier graze.
Makan lunged as Cor raised his sword. Then younger man turned and drove his fist into the back of the Makan’s neck while kicking out with his foot to trip him. The baron crashed to the floor, grunting and cursing. Makan turned his head and tried to get up, displaying a broken nose with blood gushing from it. Cor’s foot stepped on his back, pushing him back down to the wooden planks of the floor.
“This woman you’ve tried to destroy once promised you a fate,” Corillius said, sheathing his sword and then grabbing on to Makan’s neck and picking him up. The Northman threw him down on the bed so that the blood from his nose mingled with the blood already staining the sheets from his most recent and devastatingly brutal rape of Annalyse.
“I’m going to personally see to it that it comes true,” he hissed, picking up the whip from the ground. “But first, here’s a little taste of what you did to her!”
Cor ripped the robe from the beaten baron’s body and struck him repeatedly with the whip, making the man grit his teeth from the pain. Corillius spared no strength, he flailed the man mercilessly, with each lash drawing blood.
Finished and panting from the effort, Corillius reversed the grip on the whip and introduced Makan to the receiving end of a brutal intrusion like that which he had inflicted upon Annalyse. Corillius stepped back, breathing hard and glaring with murderous fury at the man who was reduced to sobbing and groaning in agony on the sheets.
“Bind him!” Corillius demanded of the two servants. Having seen what he’d done to a member of nobility, they hurried to obey. In moments Baron Makan was bound fast to the bed.
“Now one of you take off your clothes and help this lady dress in them.”
After looking at each other one of them took off the skimpy rags they were forced to wear and tied them on Anna. Corillius then grabbed up Makan’s robe and threw it over her shoulders.
“I meant what I said,” Corillius said to the two servants. “And I came here all the way from the north. I found her, and I found her warriors. They’re all free now. If you untie him I will find out and I will return to treat you to a worse fate than what is in store for him and his family!”
The two servants nodded, terrified of the large Northman, and cowered as far from him as they could. Corillius opened the door and, after looking out it, he led the docile and uncaring Anna out into the passage.
In the early hours before dawn, escaping both the brothel and the city proved easier than he would have imagined.
* * * *
Despite Makan’s ranting and raving, the two servants fled the room after Corillius and Annalyse left. They didn’t even stop by their beds in the servants’ quarters, but instead fled into the city. They had no idea where to go, but they were terrified of Corillius and had no desire to incur his wrath after what they had seen.
Thus it was that, Baron Darleth was the one to come and find Baron Makan in his predicament. He’d hoped to call upon the man to discuss some political shuffling he’d been considering, and discovered that he hadn’t returned home. It was a simple guess to imagine the Baron was still being entertained by his slave. With a new servant to show him his way, Darleth’s surprise was considerable to see the man thus imprisoned.
A chuckle broke from Darleth’s humorless lips. Makan’s body tensed, and he renewed his struggles against his bonds.
“Who’s there?” he queried nervously. His only relief came from the fact that the handle of the whip had fallen free of him many hours ago.
“I see that your slave found a way to escape you and turn the tables, my Lord.” Darleth’s voice was full of humor.
“Darleth? Is that you? Release me!” Makan’s voice gained strength as he realized that it wasn’t the return of the northlander. He flapped his arms and tried to turn his head to glare at the younger man who seemed to be taking his time in working the ropes.
Darleth grinned, a frightening thing with little of humor in it. He knew that this was most likely the best thing that had ever happened and might ever happen to him in his lifetime. Not only would he possess Makan’s daughter, he would hold this over Makan’s head for the rest of his life. He moved to release the older man’s wrists and ankles from the ropes and wrap him in a loose sheet from the bed.
“How long have you been like this?” he asked, once Makan was upright and feeling a bit more in control.
“Moments, hours, I don’t know. It was full dark when the Northman attacked me to save the whore, what is the hour now?”
Darleth turned his head to the side so that Makan would not be able to see the smile that tried to move his lips. “It’s late afternoon, after four bells.” He replied.
Makan groaned. “They’ll be long gone from the city by now.” He didn’t mention to Darleth the repetition of the threat to his family. The only power he had now was in keeping information to himself.
“They’re northern savages, lucky, apparently, but no match for our forces,” Darleth assured him. “Come, let us away and have our private guard immediately set after them. I have some excellent trackers amongst my men that have been denied the ability to hunt anything other than wild game for too long.”
Makan nodded enthusiastically. “Yes!” he hissed, hastening to the door.
“A moment, My Lord Baron,” Darleth said, turning to the serving girl who had, through a miraculous effort of will, kept her face neutral throughout the exchange. Darleth motioned her closer to him and smiled at her.
“You will not speak of this… to anyone,” he stated as well as asked. She shook her head emphatically. Of course she would have to tell some of the other slaves, news of this nature would have to be shared, but the nobles must not know of it.
Darleth nodded and grabbed her by the neck, pulling her to him before she could yelp in surprise or protest. He buried his dagger in her belly, point facing upwards to pierce her lung and heart. She struggled in his grasp for a few moments then slumped, dead.
“Of course you won’t,” he said, smiling softly at her. He turned to Makan, his eerie smile still in place.
“We must keep this little incident to ourselves,” he offered by way of explanation. “Imagine what could happen if news of it were to get out.”
Makan shuddered and nodded. He thought Darleth to be on his side, but he also wondered if perhaps the younger baron had just made a veiled threat as well.
The two men hurried out of the brothel, stopping only so that Makan could change back into his clothes. They gathered up their horses and rode off in separate directions, each gathering their private guards and meeting at the northern gate by the toll of the fifth bell.
At the older baron’s house he readied his men, ignoring the pleas of the Baroness to talk to her. She seemed addled, but he was otherwise occupied. Finally she stepped in front of him and slapped him, gaining his direct attention.
Enraged, Makan backhanded her and sent her stumbling to the ground. “You foolish wench, I’m on important business! Whatever you want can wait!”
Stunned, with tears running down her cheeks, the Baroness stared at him for a long minute. He turned to storm out of the room before she found her voice.
“T’leren is missing, My Lord.”
Makan stopped as soon as the words registered. His mouth dropped and he gasped imperceptibly. “What do you mean, missing?”
“Your daughter is gone, no one knows where. None of the guards or servants saw her leave, but she’s not here,” she said, her voice gaining strength and anger.
Makan closed his eyes and felt hopelessness sap his strength. Already the Northlander’s oath was coming true.
“What of D’lariana?” He asked, turning to face her and feeling shame for his treatment of her.
“She is in her rooms, protected by your guards, My Lord,” the Baroness said, clipping each word curtly.
Makan walked over to her and helped her up. “We should not have struck one another,” he said softly, by way of apology. “I must tend to these affairs, I suspect it might bring T’leren’s disappearance to light. I will return as quickly as I am able. We will talk more then.”
She nodded, a part of her overjoyed to hear his words and hoping that perhaps things might come back around for them. “Be safe, husband,” she whispered as he turned to leave. He paused, nodded, and then hurried out to his horse and his awaiting troops.
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