You are getting sleepy…

1

Very, very sleepy…

Hypnosis has always been a casual interest of mine.  I mean, with as obsessed as I am with psychology, of course I’m at least somewhat interested in hypnosis.

… As a therapeutic tool, done by a licensed professional.

That stage stuff is bullshit, of course.  And I’ve seen FemDom hypnotists who claimed to be able to control the minds of their subs.

That stuff, I was never all that interested in.  I dabbled in it once or twice, but it never really stuck.

Until, of course, Sounder came along.

We’d tried hypnosis once before… God, I don’t even know how long ago.  I did a Google search, studied it for 10-ish minutes, and then we tried it out.

It didn’t work.  And honestly, I wasn’t surprised.  Anyone who has known Sounder for more than a day could guess that he’s not easy to put in a trance.  I just figured he was one of those people who are impossible to hypnotize, and we left it alone.

But I kinda don’t like not knowing how to do something, or not being able to do something.  For months, it bugged me.

And then it occurred to me: What if he’s not impossible to hypnotize, but it’s just blocked somehow?

When I was in my early twenties, hypnotherapy was recommended to me.  So I went to two different hypnotherapists, and neither of them could get me into a trance.  A friend of mine recommended the woman she saw to help her quit smoking, and spoke the world of her.

So I went to see her (we’ll call her Psylocke).  But the entire appointment, she didn’t even try to hypnotize me.  We just talked.  Same with the second appointment.

I was sitting there thinking, “What gives?”

But she knew what the hell she was doing.  When she finally did hypnotize me, I went under super quick, and ended up being one of the easiest people to hypnotize.

So two professionals said I was impossible to hypnotize, but I wasn’t.  The same could be true for Sounder.

Psylocke and I ended up being friends for a bit, after I stopped being her patient, until she moved away.  So I messaged her on Facebook, asking why I was so hard for the others but easy for her.

She explained that my self control is a very big part of my psyche, and I couldn’t let it go enough to go into trance.  So she needed to get to know me first, so she would know how to convince me to let go of that control.

Well, gee, that doesn’t sound like anyone else I know.

Cool, so I already know Sounder really well.  It was just a matter of using what I know, with what Psylocke knows, to figure out how to get him to let go of his self control.

Back to Google.  This time, slightly more than 10 minutes.

15-ish hours later (I’ve been known to be just a teensy bit obsessive when I’m super focused on something), I had a plan, and a script.  I knew exactly what traits in him to appeal to, how to convince his brain to let go, how to seduce his subconscious into handing over that control.

Because control is my drug, and one way or another, I’m getting my fix.

I was pretty confident.  What I had, what I’d written, should work.  It was something that would appeal to his curiosity, his competitiveness, his perfectionism, his desire to serve and obey me, and his need to be taken, conquered, thoroughly and wholly owned.  If there was any possibility at all for him to be hypnotized, this would do it.

So I was cautiously optimistic when I got to his house.  He lied down on the bed, got comfortable, and I got started.

Half an hour later, I counted him back up and was eager to see if it worked.

Of course I could’ve just asked him.  But there are much more effective ways to get that kind of information.  His mind is hard to read, but his body is a completely different matter, and I can say with absolute certainty that no one knows it better than I do.  That would tell me how well it had worked.

I knelt down beside him on the bed and rolled him onto his side, my hand between his legs, rubbing his p-spot.

It didn’t take him long to start grinding against my hand, moaning softly.

He already squirms like a girl, this isn’t anything new.  But immediately I noticed a difference.  He’s already an eager slut, but that was ramped up to an amazing level.  He squirmed and thrashed under me, he gasped and moaned, he whimpered and whined.

And I quickly discovered something even more amazing, something very, very, very useful to me.

His sluttiness and his hunger completely overtook his mind.  I found myself painting for him a picture of the future, the first time he feels a man’s hand between his legs instead of mine, the first time he is bent over and fucked, hard and fast, from both ends, by a group of men.

It was a very depraved, very dark picture.  I have a very vivid imagination, and made good use of it.

Any other time, hearing things only half as twisted would have made him cringe.  But not this time.  He agreed to it, he yearned for it, he craved it.

It actually became a bit of a game.  I knelt over him, bringing him to orgasm after orgasm after orgasm, getting even more depraved, even more twisted, even more fucked up.  It became a game to see if I would hit on something that would cause that familiar cringe.

I never reached that point, though.  No matter how fucked up I got, no matter how deep I took him, he was right there with me, wanting it.  Every time I said something new, every time I told him a new detail, he’d gasp and moan eagerly, arching his back and desperately humping my hand.

Hell yeah, the hypnosis had an effect.  A totally amazing, awesome effect.

Even more of an effect than I realized, actually.  The next morning, he told me that he was still in that trance-like headspace through the entire session, until we went downstairs.  That, I hadn’t expected.  And I can definitely take advantage of it.

Awesome, so hypnosis works, and I now know how to put him in a sweet, slutty, submissive headspace.  Mindless and agreeable.  Empty and obedient.

It opens up a whole new world of opportunities.  It’s a whole new level of control over him.

The things I can do to him, the triggers I can put in his head…

It’s going to be an obscene amount of fun.

Written in Stone, Part 5

Kieran had no idea how much time had passed, but he found that he remembered more than he thought he had, and that he enjoyed reading.  All it took was some prompting from Taber, and he was reading more or less on his own.

He’d been in the middle of sounding out a particularly troublesome word when Ilya stepped into the doorway.  “Having fun?” he asked.

Out of habit, Kieran’s heart jumped into his throat, and fear gripped his body.  What if Taber had been wrong, and Ilya would be furious with him learning to read?

Taber put a reassuring hand on Kieran’s and smiled at Ilya.  “I’m teaching him to read, Dominus,” he said brightly.

Ilya nodded.  “Good.  If there’s any particular subject you’d like to read about, Kieran, just let us know and we’ll see what we can do.”

“Yes, Dominus,” Kieran said numbly.  Not only was he being encouraged to read, but he was being encouraged to ask for books on a specific subject?

“But take a break, boys,” Ilya continued.  “It’s lunch time.”

“Yes, Dominus,” Taber said, quickly setting the book down and rising to his feet.  He walked past Ilya, but the taller man stopped him, grabbing him and pinning him against the doorframe, holding him there with a hand around his neck.

Kieran’s pulse raced.  So Ilya was angry at Taber for teaching him to read.  He stood still, frozen to that spot, as he watched the two of them.

But there was no fear in Taber’s eyes.  Only pleasant surprise.  And when Ilya bent down to capture the slave’s lips in a passionate kiss, the moan that escaped him was far from fearful.  After a moment, Ilya pulled away, then released his neck, pushing two fingers deep into Taber’s mouth.

“I’ll be using this later,” he said softly, his fingers moving slowly in and out of the slave’s mouth.  “Your other hole, too.”

Taber moaned again, eagerly and enthusiastically sucking his owner’s fingers.

Then, Ilya stepped back, releasing Taber fully and smiling at him.  “But first, lunch,” he declared brightly, turning to Kieran.  “Come on, let’s go.  Abby’s waiting for us.”

“Yes, Dominus,” Kieran said, following them out of the room.  They headed to the dining room, and Kieran stilled, staring.  He was surprised to find an extra chair on the right side of the table.

His chair, he knew.

There was a chair.  At his owner’s table.  For him.

There was a chair, at his owner’s table, that was put there specifically for him.  His owners had gotten him a chair at their table.  It wasn’t a chair that belonged to someone else, that he was just using.  It was a chair that they had gotten and placed at their table.  For him exclusively.

“Kieran?” Ilya asked, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“I have a chair,” he murmured dumbly.  It sounded dumb, he knew, but it was the only thing he could think of to say.

Ilya chuckled, putting his arm around Kieran.  “You have a chair,” he agreed.  “It always messes with you at first.”

That surprised Kieran, breaking through the fog in his mind, and he looked up to meet his owner’s eyes.  “You don’t think it’s dumb?” he asked.

Ilya’s smile widened, and he gave Kieran a reassuring squeeze.  “You mean you didn’t know?” he asked jovially.  “I figured Dryas would’ve taken every opportunity to point it out.  I’m a helot.  Just like you are.”

Kieran didn’t know how to respond.  Of course Dryas had called him a neodamode, and he’d wondered if it was true.  And hadn’t Taber mentioned it, as well?  Still, it was different hearing Ilya confirm it as casually as if he were talking about the drapes.

“He… He did say something, Dominus,” he said haltingly.  He wasn’t sure how his Dominus would react to him acknowledging the fact that his former owner had insulted him.

But it didn’t seem to bother Ilya.  He chuckled again.

“Trust me, everything you’re feeling, I’ve felt it too.  And trust me when I say it’ll get easier.”

“Yes, Dominus.”

“Go ahead, have a seat.  You’re right here, next to Charis.”

Kieran hesitated, realizing that the seat Ilya had gestured to had been Rowyn’s place.  “Dominus?” he asked nervously.  The last thing he wanted was tension with his owner’s primary.

“It’s alright,” Ilya assured him, understanding his concern the way only a helot could.  “Rowyn isn’t the type to get offended by that sort of thing.  Charis calms you, doesn’t she?”

“Yes, Dominus.”

“Then it’s better for you to be close to her.  Rowyn knows that.”

Kieran hesitated again, still unconvinced.  From his place across the table, Taber smiled at him.  “It’s really alright,” he said.  “You’re not the first to sit there.  Rowyn understands.  He’s completely fine with it.  It was his idea to have new slaves sit there in the first place.”

Kieran was still unsure, but he finally sat down, his hands folded in his lap, feeling awkward and uncomfortable.

But Taber and Ilya seemed not to notice.  “Is Domina coming to eat?” Taber asked him.

Ilya laughed.  “Rowyn just got back,” he answered.  “We won’t see him, Charis, or Cullen for a few hours yet.”

But suddenly, as if on cue, they heard Charis’ cheerful laugh from the hallway.  A moment later, all three of them filed into the room.  All three looked flushed and happy, with their hair and clothes disheveled.  Charis, who usually dressed impeccably, had her peplos tied crooked and her hair messy.

“Ah, I stand corrected,” Ilya declared, smiling at Charis as she sat down with a contented sigh.  “I hope you had fun.”

“Absolutely,” she replied, flashing a grin at Kieran and patting his hand affectionately.

Kieran was grateful for her attention, but his focus was on Rowyn, and how he’d react to seeing someone else in his place at Charis’ right hand.

But Rowyn only smiled.  “We even had a head start, since Kieran was kind enough to get her warmed up for us.”

He clapped Kieran on the back playfully as he walked behind him, to take the seat between Kieran and Ilya.  He winked at Kieran as he sat down, and Kieran found himself blushing madly.  The compliment flattered him, especially since he wondered if he’d been pleasing to her.

He loved knowing that he had satisfied her.  He loved knowing that there was at least one thing he could do well, one thing concrete that he could give her.

“Well, I didn’t see you come in,” Ilya said to Rowyn.  “I’m glad you got in alright.  Did you have much trouble?”

“Not really,” Rowyn answered shrugging.  “More strange looks than anything else.  The odd cop asking for my paperwork.”

He laughed, suddenly.  “An elderly perioeci woman offered to ‘adopt’ me,” he said.

Charis laughed.  “Really?  To adopt you?”

Rowyn nodded.  “She assumed I was trying to run away, I think.  To get out of being sold to the State.  She said she didn’t have any children of her own and she’d care for me as her son.  I think she thought I was a child.”

“Everyone is a child to the elderly,” Abby said as she opened the door and entered the room, carrying her tray.  “She probably would’ve insisted on hand-feeding you, too.”

Rowyn laughed.  “You know, I got that impression.”

“It’s good to see you back home,” she said, pausing behind him as she made her way around the table and hugging him with her free arm.

“It’s good to be back,” he replied, returning the hug.

She nodded, patting his shoulder affectionately, then finished passing out the plates and left.

“How was the trip?” Ilya asked once she was gone.  “How was the appraisal?”

Suddenly, Rowyn’s expression fell, and he fiddled with his food.  “It was productive,” he answered, his tone flat and low.  “I learned enough to make an accurate judgement.”

“Rowyn?” Charis asked softly, her voice heavy with concern.

The older man sighed, setting his fork down.  “It was bad, Domina,” he murmured.  “We can never be associated with them.  We could never undo that kind of damage.”

“What happened?” Ilya asked.

Haltingly, hesitantly, his eyes glued to his plate, Rowyn began to speak.

“They were cruel,” he whispered.  “Unimaginably cruel.  I watched them… I watched them tie a man up… tie his wrists to his ankles so he couldn’t stand up.  He had to stay on his knees.  They… they pushed him into the public baths.  It was deep enough that only the top of his head stuck up out of the water.  They kept him down for longer and longer, shoving their cocks in his mouth both when he was under and when they pulled him up.  Finally, he passed out, from… from lack of oxygen.  Once that happened, all the men took turns fucking him.

“They had a couple of females there.  One of them, they tied to a pole in the middle of the main lounge.  All the members were given the opportunity to whip her with a single tail.  Some of them were so brutal.  It cut to the bone.  Finally, when she’d screamed herself out, she was tied down, for them to fuck.  They used her own blood as lubricant.”

There was a movement from the end of the table, from Ilya.  The next actions happened too quickly for Kieran to really register what was happening.

The first thing he was aware of was Charis’ voice, loud and firm.  “Rowyn!” she exclaimed, the word a command that Kieran didn’t understand.

Then he was aware of Taber leaping out of his chair.  Next came Rowyn’s touch.  The hands that had been gentle and friendly moments before were now rough and forceful, grabbing him and pulling him up out of the chair, away from the table and pinning him against the wall.

Then, just as he noticed the weight of Rowyn’s body, keeping him against the wall, he saw Cullen fling himself across the table.

After that, his mind started to catch up.  He saw Ilya standing up.  He’d stood up so quickly, and with such force, that the chair had clattered back against the wall behind him.  He was gripping the table so tight, his knuckles were white.

He’d intended to flip the table, Kieran realized.  Cullen had seen it coming and threw his weight on top of it to give Ilya pause.

Charis’ command to Rowyn had been to protect Kieran.  To move him back and shield him in case Ilya had succeeded in flipping the table.  And still, Rowyn shielded him, using his body to protect him.

And Taber had leapt up, fearlessly wrapping his arms around his owner.  He was easily six inches shorter than his owner, but his touch, while not technically restraining, seemed to be enough to keep Ilya from the violence they were all trying to prevent.

The slave was holding tightly to Ilya, murmuring constantly to him in a voice too low for Kieran to hear.

Charis, who had risen to her feet, smoothly walked to the other end of the table, and stood to Ilya’s other side, putting her hand over his.  Cullen got off the table and stood just behind her, watching Ilya closely, all the playfulness in his gaze replaced by dark determination.

“Let go,” Charis said quietly, looking up at Ilya.

In a move that made Kieran gasp, Ilya violently shoved her away, breaking easily out of Taber’s grip and shouting at her.  The force of his shove knocked her back, but she easily, gracefully regained her balance and held up a restraining hand to Cullen, who had stepped forward to defend her.

Don’t touch me!” Ilya shouted.  “You can’t just tell me to sit down and shut up.  Don’t pretend to know what’s going on in my head.  None of those people will ever be able to get away.  None of them will ever know anything different.  You will never understand what that feels like!  You’ll never understand what it feels like to not have any control over your life.  But you walk around here as if you know everything, like you can just wave your fucking hand and solve everyone’s problems.  How are you going to solve their problems, Charis?  How are you going to make their lives better?  It’s your people who are hurting them!”

Kieran started trembling.  The insults that Ilya was throwing would not be taken lightly.  And the helots were the ones who would suffer for his irrational temper.

But Charis didn’t look angry as she held his gaze.  She stood still, listening to him, watching him as he continued to yell at her and insult her Spartan heritage.

When he paused for a breath, she fearlessly stepped close to him, taking his face in both her hands.  “Do you need to be hurt?” she asked, her voice calm and steady.

The strange question seemed to break through the wall of anger.  He hesitated, then lowered his eyes, shaking his head.  “No,” he said.

“Do you need to hurt?”

Taber stepped forward again, taking Ilya’s hand in his.  “Do you need to hurt me, Dominus?” the slave repeated, looking up at his owner with love in his eyes.

Ilya forced a smile and squeezed Taber’s hand.  “No,” he said again.  “I’m alright.”

“Come here,” Charis said, extending her arms.  Ilya immediately retreated into her embrace, looking much smaller than his six feet, five inches as she held him.  Taber righted Ilya’s chair, and Rowyn stepped away, releasing Kieran from his place against the wall.

“Are you alright?” he asked quietly, turning to Kieran.  “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“No,” Kieran managed to whisper, still shaken.

“Take a breath,” Rowyn urged.  “You’re alright.  No one’s going to hurt you.  Come on, sit.  Domina knows how to calm him down.”

He looked up to Charis just in time to see her pull away from Ilya and lead him back to his chair.  He sat down and she kissed the top of his head gently before returning to her place at the head of the table.

Taber moved to kneel at Ilya’s side, but Ilya stopped him with a hand around his waist, pulling him to sit in his lap, instead.  The blond man’s eyes flitted around the room and settled on Kieran, who was still pale and shaking as Rowyn helped him to his seat.

“Shit, I’m sorry, Kieran,” Ilya said.  “My temper got the best of me.  Are you alright?”

“Yes, Dominus,” Kieran answered, unsure of how to react to the fact that his owner had just apologized to him.

“Come here, love,” Charis said, gesturing for him to sit on her lap.

Eagerly, Kieran obeyed, wanting the comfort of her closeness and the warmth of her body.

Once he was comfortable and had pulled his plate to him, Charis looked to Rowyn.  “You’re right.  We can never be associated with that place.  Even gutting it and banning every member wouldn’t be enough to get the horror and evil out of the walls.”

Rowyn nodded his agreement.

“Did anyone try anything with you?” Ilya asked him.

“No, they all knew who I am,” Rowyn answered.  “The symposiarch made a point of bragging about it every chance he got.  He wanted them all to know that Domina had sent me to survey the place.  That she was considering a professional association.  They knew better than to try.  I think they actually ramped up the usual cruelty of the place, thinking that it would impress me.  I think they were trying to show off.”

“They thought we’d be impressed by cruelty?” Charis asked.

Rowyn shrugged.  “Rumors are everywhere, Domina,” he pointed out.  “Everyone speculates about what makes your symposium so much better.  I think a lot of people think it’s because you’ve been crueler than any other symposiarch.”

“Well, we’ll have to do something about that,” Charis said.  “I don’t want helots suffering needlessly because their symposiarch thinks they’re being more like me.”

Cullen scoffed.  “Yeah, you should start a fanclub, Domina.”

To Kieran’s surprise, Charis laughed at the offhand remark, and even Ilya chuckled softly, the tension in the room lifting.

That seemed strange to him.  The atmosphere had been so tense, Charis and Ilya were so intense, Ilya had just shouted at Charis, had just attempted to flip the very large, very heavy dining table.  It had hardly seemed like the appropriate time to make a joke.

But Cullen had.

Not only had he made a joke, but it had been well received.  Even by Ilya.  Who had, moments ago, been shouting and cursing at Charis, who had been consumed by an irrational, explosive temper.  Even he had actually smiled and laughed at the joke.

Taber smiled and leaned against Ilya, resting his head against the taller man’s shoulder and kissing his neck.

Ilya sighed.  “That’s very distracting, you know.”

“Yes, Dominus,” Taber answered.

“You haven’t finished your food.  Aren’t you hungry?”

Taber’s smile widened.  “No, Dominus.”

“Well, I am, you insatiable slut.  Let me eat.”

Taber chuckled, reaching up to nip at Ilya’s earlobe, and Ilya laughed, shuddering and trying to move away.

“Gods, you’re impossible,” Ilya groaned, laughing as he pushed the eager slave away.  “I swear, you’re not happy unless there’s something in your mouth.”

“Either hole,” Taber corrected.  “I’m not picky.”

“I’m trying to eat.”

“Are you?”

Ilya laughed again, then turned to Cullen.  “Would you keep him occupied so I can finish my lunch?” he asked, exasperated.

Cullen grinned, meeting Taber’s gaze.  “I’d be happy to, Dominus,” he answered, rising to his feet and grabbing a fistful of Taber’s hair, firmly pulling him off Ilya’s lap and onto his knees.  Still holding him by the hair, Cullen pulled up his tunic, pushing his already-hard cock into the slave’s wet, eager mouth.

“Insatiable,” Ilya muttered, shaking his head as Cullen began thrusting smoothly into Taber’s mouth.  He grinned as he turned his attention back to his food.

Kieran toyed with his own food from his place on Charis’ lap, watching the people around him.  Cullen seemed to thoroughly enjoy using Taber’s mouth, and didn’t seem to mind being told to do so.  But more than that, Taber didn’t seem to mind it, either.

The younger slave knelt in front of Cullen, his hands on Cullen’s thighs, seeming to be completely at ease with being told to suck Cullen’s cock.  And by the expression on Cullen’s face, Taber was very eager and enthusiastic in his sucking.

Kieran watched them for a moment, then turned his attention to Rowyn as the older slave and Charis began talking cheerfully.  He’d never really gotten a good look at his owner’s primary.

Rowyn was exceptionally beautiful, there was no doubt about that.  Dark, sandy blond hair framed his face, though it had begun to go gray around his temples.  A well-defined jaw and strong chin were only slightly marred by a thin scar running from the top of his right cheek to just under his chin.  The scar was enough to detract from his monetary value, but not enough to take away from his beauty.

His most striking features were his eyes.  Bright, blue, and piercing, and they always seemed to have a smile in them.  The intelligence and spirit in his eyes were just incredible.  Hypnotic, almost.

Kieran liked looking at him, and didn’t even realize he’d been staring until Rowyn turned those piercing eyes on him, and smiled.

Blushing, Kieran lowered his gaze.

He sighed, setting his fork down and leaning back against Charis, savoring the feel of her fingers running up and down his back.  Ilya was right.  Being close to her was calming.  He could let his mind wander, he could just let himself be with her.  It was relaxing in a way he never thought he’d be able to relax with his owner.

He still was riddled with doubt, he still felt consumed by fear most of the time.  But in these quiet moments, sitting in her lap or kneeling at her feet, he could almost forget how frightened of her he actually was.

“Are you all done fighting?” Abby asked suddenly, opening the door and walking in.  “I don’t want to interrupt any fighting.”

Ilya laughed.  “We’re done fighting, Abby.  The excitement is over.”

“Oh, good heavens!” Abby exclaimed as she turned to see Cullen and Taber in the corner.  “And they barely touched their food.”

Cullen smiled at her, not stopping his rhythm.  “I just thought I’d give him dessert first, Miss Abby.”

“I did not work for two hours, making your lunch, for you to put other things in your mouth,” she scolded.  “Are you saying you don’t like my cooking?”

Cullen, unable to keep from laughing, finally released Taber and stepped back, pulling his cock from the younger slave’s mouth.

Taber wiped his mouth as he smiled sheepishly up at Abby.  “I guess I got a little excited,” he murmured apologetically.

Abby shook her head.  “You know, the more you bat those long eyelashes at me, and flash me those puppy-dog eyes, the less effective it will be.”

“Yes, Miss Abby,” Taber said innocently, his expression guileless as he gazed up at her.

“Well, I suppose you’ll want me to wrap up his lunch for later,” she said, reaching for his plate.

“I have a feeling he’ll be swallowing quite a bit between now and dinnertime,” Charis replied dryly.  “I highly doubt he’ll go hungry.”

“Now see, that is something I did not absolutely need to know,” Abby said.  “Careful, or you’ll offend my delicate sensibilities.”

Charis laughed goodnaturedly, waiting for Abby to finish gathering the plates.  Once she was gone, Cullen reached for Taber once again and, without a word, thrust deep into the slave’s mouth.

“Domina, can I play, too?” Rowyn asked, grinning.

Charis nodded, and Rowyn immediately rose to his feet, moving around the table to kneel behind Taber. Cullen lowered himself to his knees as well, forcing Taber down on all fours, exposing his ass.

Rowyn spit on Taber’s exposed hole, then pushed a single, slender finger inside.

Taber gasped and moaned, squirming just slightly as he was penetrated from both ends.  He arched his back, pushing his butt out more, urging Rowyn to go deeper.

Happy to oblige, Rowyn slid a second finger in alongside the first, swirling them around inside Taber’s body.  Then, after only a moment, Rowyn repositioned himself, the tip of his hard cock pressing against Taber’s tight, warm hole.

Slowly, Rowyn eased the head into Taber, using more spit as necessary to make the younger slave comfortable, until he had sunk all the way into him, his hips pressed firmly against Taber’s butt.

“Gods,” he murmured, finding a slow, steady rhythm.

Rowyn and Cullen took their time, not rushing, almost as if they were savoring every moment, every part of Taber’s body.  They were both firm and unyielding, but gentle.  Their use of him was slow, and fluid, and thorough.

Kieran watched them intently, wondering what it would be like to be used like that.  He’d never experienced anything like that before.  Those who had used him had always been rough, and fast, and painful, pounding into him as hard as they could.

But the way Cullen and Rowyn used Taber was completely different.  There was no spastic thrusting, no animalistic pawing, no slapping or beating.  Just two men enjoying the feeling of being inside him.  Enjoying him.

What would it feel like to be used like that?  What would it feel like to have someone truly enjoy being inside him?  To savor him, the way Rowyn and Cullen savored Taber?

What would it feel like to be completely, fully, wholly filled up?

“Jealous?” Charis asked, loud enough for only Kieran to hear.

He turned to look at her, confused, until her eyes flitted down to his lap.  Following her gaze, he blushed madly to find that his own cock was rock hard, poking up through his tunic.

“I’ve never seen you aroused before,” she whispered, trailing a single fingertip up his shaft, through the thin material of his tunic.  “Tell me, which of them has sparked your imagination?  Which do you wish you could be?”

Her purring voice, the directness of her question, and the feather-light touch of her fingers on his shaft made it very difficult to keep his thoughts straight.  The feel of her hands on him, gentle and soft, was foreign and surprising.  She’d never really touched him there before.

Obediently and instinctually, he spread his legs, exposing himself and giving her more access to him.  His heart fluttered as she fondled him, feeling very vulnerable and open to her.

The first time a new person touched him was always a bit unnerving.  Everyone’s hands felt different, everyone’s touch was different, and he never really knew what to expect.

With Charis, it was no different.  He was relatively sure she wouldn’t cause him intense pain, but he was nervous and curious to see what her touch would be like.  He’d heard of people who could cause mild or moderate pain, at just the right moments, in just the right way, that would actually intensify pleasure.  Being a symposiarch, he had no doubt that Charis knew how to do that.

Would she hurt him?  Would her touch stay light?  Would she take enjoyment in touching and exploring him?

“Well now,” Ilya declared suddenly, startling him.  “This is just wholly unacceptable.”

“What is, dear?” Charis asked, still running her fingers up and down Kieran’s cock.

“I’m the only one with no one to play with.”

Charis laughed.  “Sounds like you should join in the fun.”

“That’s a fantastic idea.”

Ilya rose from his chair and approached Taber, Cullen, and Rowyn.  He stood over Taber, straddling him, facing Cullen.

“I want your mouth,” he said to the brown-eyed slave.

“Yes, Dominus,” Cullen murmured, meeting his owner’s gaze as his mouth was filled up.

Ilya’s rhythm was a bit faster, just a bit rougher, than Cullen and Rowyn’s, but still gentle.  And Cullen easily kept his own rhythm, still holding on to Taber as Ilya held on to him.

“They look like they’re enjoying themselves, don’t they?” Charis whispered, still caressing Kieran through his tunic.

“Yes, Domina,” he murmured, breathless.

She kept touching him, and with her other hand, grabbed him gently by the back of his neck, pulling him close so she could nibble on his ear.

Kieran gasped as chills shot down his spine at the new, novel touch.  No one had ever licked or nibbled his ears before, and the sensation, the continuous jolt it sent down his spine, was almost overwhelming.  Without thinking, he gripped her arm, clinging to her as she continued licking, sucking, and biting his ear, while still maintaining the soft touches on his cock.

Waves of pleasure rippled through him, and he squirmed and writhed in her lap, completely unable to control himself.  And still, the firm hand on his neck held him close, keeping him still.

Every thought that tried to make its way into his mind was immediately shattered by the constant sensations.  The only thing that he could think of was, how?

How did she completely shatter his self control like this?  How could she completely overwhelm him by doing nothing but touch his ear and his cock?  How was it possible?

And gods, if she could overwhelm him this much, by something so simple, what else could she do?

“You look like you’re enjoying yourself,” she murmured, her lips brushing against his ear as she spoke.

“Y-yes, Domina,” he gasped.

“Why don’t you show me how much?”

Before he could ask what she meant, she took his earlobe between her teeth while gripping his cock firmly, stroking it as she played with his ear.

Kieran gasped, his focus completely shattered.  Somewhere in the back of his mind, he remembered that he needed to ask permission before he came.

“Domina,” he managed, his throat tight.

“Cum for me,” she told him, understanding the thought he couldn’t put together.

Almost as soon as he had permission, he felt the pleasure build to the breaking point.  Crying out, his entire body tense, he came harder than he ever remembered cumming before.

“There you go,” she murmured approvingly as he relaxed, whimpering, against her.  “That’s a good boy.”

He lied back against her, curling himself up in her lap, burying his face in the crook of her neck.

“Yes, that’s a very good boy.  You made quite a mess, didn’t you?”

He started to sit up, but she held him down.  “No, no, it’s alright.  You can clean it right here.  Go ahead and open your mouth, there’s a good boy.”

Relaxing back against her, he closed his eyes and opened his mouth.  When she pushed her fingers inside, and he tasted his cum on them, he obediently, almost absently, licked them clean.

“Very good boy,” she told him, kissing his forehead as she dipped her fingers back into the pool of semen on his belly, then put them back in his mouth again.

His head swam and his body tingled and pulsed as he lied against her, limp and weak, obediently licking his cum from her fingers every time she put them in his mouth.

Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he was aware of rhythmic grunting and soft moans coming from somewhere in the room.  But for the life of him, he couldn’t figure out where, or who it was coming from.  And he really didn’t care.  All he was truly aware of was the feeling of her gentle hands on him, the warmth and softness of her body, and the taste of himself on her skin.

It felt good, being there, in her lap, held in her arms, sated and satisfied, and safe.

From somewhere in the back of his mind, that bitter voice still screamed.  He didn’t deserve this kindness, he wasn’t good enough to warrant it.  And once his owners realized that, the kindness would stop.

But he decided that he didn’t care.  He’d simply enjoy it while it lasts.

Let’s play a game

I love the things Sounder’s depraved sissy mind comes up with.

He had a dream last week, that he shared with me.  In it, I give him the ability to help decide what I will do to him next time I see him.  I do this by telling him to find me a hot sissy caption each morning.  Each picture is assigned a number of points, and if he meets certain thresholds, he’s able to avoid certain unpleasant things.

Which is a fucking awesome idea, m’kay.  Like seriously.

So of course, this week, I wanted to do it. We started on Monday, and I’m going to see him on Sunday.  He sends me one picture each morning, and each picture is given a score between 1 and 5.

To avoid figging, he must earn 5 points.

10 to avoid ass to mouth.

15 to avoid Kazander Topping him for the entire evening.

20 to avoid being spitroasted.

25 to avoid begging Kazander to fuck him.

And 30 to avoid begging Kazander to be allowed to suck his cock.

The first two pictures he sent me were good, with one earning 3 and the other earning 4.  On Wednesday, the one he sent was really hot, and earned him 5 points.

On Thursday, he went with a different tactic.  Instead of looking for a picture online, he took one of the photos he’d taken for me, and added his own caption to it.

It was beyond hot.  I absolutely loved it.  And I wasn’t expecting it at all.  I broke my own rule, but the reaction he got out of me deserved something extra.  I gave him 6 points.

And that put him up to 18.

That picture shows his face, so it won’t be posted here, but the one he sent this morning is perfectly fine.

And amazing.

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I took the photo last Sunday.  He edited it and wrote the caption, and gave it to me today.

Definitely worth 5 points.  Which puts him up to 23.  And he’s still got two more days, and only needs 7 more points.

Next time we play this game, I’ll have to make it harder.  But isn’t my sissy so creative?

Written in Stone, Part 4

Sunlight streamed through the window, and the warm light, combined with the warmth of the bed, pleasantly woke Kieran.

He was surprised to discover that the warmth he felt came primarily from the body of his owner as she slept beside him, an arm protectively around him even in sleep.

Kieran remained still, studying her face.  He was surprised at how beautiful she really was.  Until now, all he’d had the nerve for were fleeting looks and glances when she’d commanded him to look at her.  He’d been too afraid to really get a good look at the woman who owned him.

Her blonde hair splayed out against the pillow, framing a pleasant face.  The sharp, predatory Spartan features were softened by the perioeci influence.  Her cheekbones were high, as they often were for Spartans, but with a delicate nose.  She had the Spartan jawline, but it wasn’t as pronounced as in a full-blooded Spartan.  Her chin wasn’t as square.  It gave her face a younger, more rounded appearance.

It seemed as if the best traits of Spartans and perioikoi combined within her.

In sleep, she looked so gentle, so young.  If he didn’t know who she was, he would’ve found it impossible to believe that a woman with a face this innocent and guileless could ever run a symposium.  She looked so kind.

He’d always wondered what it would be like to be owned by a kind person.  He’d always wondered what it would feel like to be held in someone’s arms, safe and protected.  He’d wondered what it would feel like to be someone’s pet.

A soft knock on the door startled him out of his thoughts.  A moment later, the door opened and Cullen quietly stepped in.  He grinned when his eyes met Kieran’s, then quickly turned his attention to Charis, approaching the side of the bed where she slept.

“Domina,” he murmured gently, running the tips of his fingers across her cheek affectionately.

“Mmm?” she mumbled sleepily, stirring slightly.

“Domina,” he called again, smiling down at her with an expression of pure, genuine love.  “It’s time to wake up.”

Suddenly, apparently awake and alert, she reached up, cupping her hand on the back of his neck, and pulled him down to meet her lips in a fierce kiss.  Startled by the unexpected action, Cullen stumbled forward, bracing himself on the headboard to keep from falling on top of her.

But she didn’t seem satisfied with that.  Deepening the kiss, she rolled, pulling him off balance and across her body.  It looked as if she would devour him, right then and there.

Until she felt Kieran beside her.  She abruptly broke the kiss and turned to look at him with confusion in her eyes, until, laughing, she realized that they were in his room.

“Well, good morning, Kieran,” she said cheerfully, still holding Cullen against her, seeming to take pleasure in his awkward attempts to support his weight.  A quick jerk of her arm knocked his own arm out from underneath him, and with a surprised gasp, he collapsed on top of her.  He chuckled as he made half-hearted attempts to struggle, but she clasped one of his arms behind his back and raised her knee between his thighs, keeping him still.

“Oh, that’s not fair,” he joked, finally going still on top of her.

“It’s not my fault you’re so cute when you’re all helpless,” she replied easily, reaching for his other arm and pinning it behind his back, as well.

Cullen whimpered playfully, nuzzling her neck as she turned to Kieran.

“How did you sleep?” she asked Kieran.

“Very well, Domina, thank you,” he replied softly, unsure of how to take the situation.  It was so strange, how being in Cullen’s position with Dryas would’ve been terrifying.  Being restrained and made helpless by one’s owner is always terrifying.

But here was Cullen, a man who had been badly abused before, very obviously enjoying being made helpless by his owner.  He continued to nuzzle and kiss her neck while she spoke to Kieran, squirming just a bit as she bent her knee more, rubbing her thigh between his legs.

“Of course he slept well, Domina,” Cullen murmured, smiling over at him.  “He got to sleep with you.”

Charis laughed.  “Are you jealous, my boy?”

Cullen squirmed more, intentionally grinding on her leg.  “It was so very cold, in that dark room, all by my poor, lonesome self,” he said jokingly.

Charis laughed.  “Oh you poor dear.”

She kissed him once more, deeply and passionately, before releasing him.  He quickly rose up off of her and helped her up.  She laughed when she saw his erection poking through his tunic.

“Well someone is awake,” she said, her hand going to his cock.  Cullen moaned softly as she stroked it through the material of his tunic, thrusting his hips slightly forward.

“Yes, Domina,” he murmured, the playfulness gone from his face, replaced, to Kieran’s surprise, with genuine desire.

He liked having her hands on him?

Wide awake,” she continued, still stroking him.

He whined, a soft, lustful, needy, begging sound.  “Please, Domina,” he breathed, stepping closer to her.

“What do you want, boy?” she asked, grinning, her grip on his cock tightening.  He gasped, trying harder now to thrust into her hand.  But she prevented him from doing it, teasing him instead.

“You, Domina,” he whispered, reaching for her and clinging to her.

She laughed, stepping away suddenly.  “Well, you can’t have me.”

His jaw dropped, and he looked at her incredulously as she turned to extend a hand to Kieran.

“Oh, that’s just cruel,” he protested.

“I never claimed to be a nice person,” she answered.  “Come on, let’s get dressed and have some breakfast.”

“Domina,” Cullen whined, his frustration and longing evident in his face.

Charis turned to him and laughed softly when she saw his expression.  “Oh, my poor boy,” she said playfully, reaching for his hand.  “Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait long.  Breakfast first.”

Cullen pouted for a moment, until a smile broke out on his face.  He wrapped Charis in a big hug, nuzzling her neck for just a moment before she, laughing, pulled away.

“Breakfast first,” she repeated.  “Come on, let’s go.”

She turned and took Kieran’s hand, and the three of the left the room and made their way downstairs, to the dining room.

“Good morning, boys,” she said cheerfully to Ilya and Taber.

“Good morning, Domina,” Taber answered.

“You look like you had a fun night,” Ilya said.

Cullen scoffed, still pouting playfully.  “I wish.”

“Oh, hush,” Charis scolded, lightly swatting his butt as he made his way to his chair.  “Kieran, come here.  Sit with me.”

She led him to sit on the floor at her feet, and Kieran quickly sat down, resting his head against her thigh.  He was grateful to sit on the floor, instead of at the table.  It was more familiar to him, and he didn’t have to try and pay attention to everyone at the table.

And he didn’t have to deal with the strangeness of sitting at the table with his owners.  He could just relax, and enjoy being close to her.

The more time he spent with her, the more he discovered that he liked being close to her.  She had a very calming effect on him, even as everything she did confused and frightened him.  Being close to her was reassuring, and being close to her without having to try to figure her out was the closest thing to comfort and happiness he had ever known.

From his place beside her, he heard the door open and Abby walk in.

“Good morning, everyone,” she said quickly.  There was a pause, then, “Where’s the little one?”

“Here,” Charis answered gesturing to him sitting beside her.

“And his food?”

“You can set his plate next to mine.  He’ll eat here today.”

She stepped around in Kieran’s view, and smiled gently down at him.  “Good morning, Bambi,” she said.  “Still adjusting?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” he whispered shyly, moving closer to Charis.

Charis ran her fingers affectionately through his hair.  “It’ll take time,” she said.  “But he’ll get there.”

“Well if anyone can get him there, you can,” Abby said, setting down her plate and Kieran’s plate before moving to the other side of the table to serve Ilya, then Taber and Cullen.

“Thank you, Miss Abby,” Cullen and Taber said, more or less in unison.

Abby nodded, then turned and left the room.

Kieran didn’t pay attention to the conversation around him, just letting his mind wander as he ate his breakfast from his owner’s fingers.

And he loved every moment of it.  He loved the softness of her thigh, he loved the feeling of her fingertips on his lips as she fed him, he loved the intimacy and security of the moment.  He felt peaceful, and comfortable, and safe.

He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt like that.

Was this what Cullen and Taber felt all the time?  Was this what it felt like to be loved and cherished, instead of just owned and used?  To enjoy being close to the one who owned him?

Was this what Cullen felt when she’d touched him that morning?

Would Kieran enjoy being touched by her, too?

He’d never enjoyed being touched by his owner before.  The thought was a foreign one.  What would it feel like to want her hands on him, the way Cullen did?  Cullen had been abused and beaten so much more, and so much longer than Kieran had ever been.  He had been very familiar with not wanting to be touched.

But he had truly enjoyed Charis’ touch, and had been disappointed when she had stopped.  Would that ever happen to Kieran, too?  Would he crave her hands on him?

He already liked being close to her, and he liked when she caressed him and ran her fingers through his hair.  Would he like her hand between his legs, as well?

He was lost in thought, letting his mind wander, when Charis’ fingertip under his chin, bringing his head up to look at her, pulled his attention.

“Did you get enough to eat?” she asked.

“Yes, Domina,” Kieran replied, surprised at the question.  It seemed so odd, for an owner to ask her slave a question like that.  Dryas had never asked him anything like it.

“Good.  Come upstairs with me.”

He quickly rose to his feet, following her out of the dining room and back up the stairs.  But when she expected her to turn right, down the hall to his room, she turned left, instead taking him to hers.  He followed her obediently into the room and stood in the center as she closed the door behind them.

“Take off your tunic, love,” she said gently.  “I want to take a closer look at you.”

His voice caught in his throat, but somehow he managed a quiet “Yes, Domina,” as his fingers numbly went to the clasp at his shoulder.  His heart pounded as the fabric fell to a pile at his feet, and he stood in front of his owner, naked and exposed.

Just as she did the first night she met him, she made a slow circle around him, examining him, and he felt himself shrink under her scrutinizing gaze.  This time, she touched him a great deal more, her fingers lingering on his stomach, his hips, his back.  And she was much more thorough in her examination of him.

He couldn’t help but whimper under the strength of her gaze.  When she moved back to his front, and he saw her frown and furrowed brow, it took all his willpower to keep from collapsing at her feet.

Gods, she wasn’t disappointed in his body, was she?

“It’s alright, Kieran,” she murmured, seeming to know the worry that ate at him.  “You’re a beautiful boy.”

“Thank you, Domina.”

“A lot of these bruises are still really dark.  Did Dryas enjoy beating you?”

“Yes, Domina.”

“Did you enjoy being beaten?”

Kieran dared a questioning glance to her.  “Domina?”

“Did you enjoy when he beat you?”

He had no idea how to answer that.  “I was happy to serve my former Dominus, however he wanted to use me.”

But she shook her head.  “No, that’s not what I asked you,” she said patiently.  “And I don’t want the ‘correct’ answer.  You’re not being tested here.  I just want the truth.  Did you like when he beat you?”

Kieran shrank, both from his owner having to repeat herself, and for fear of answering.  “No, Domina,” he whispered.

“Good boy,” she said, reaching a hand up to caress his face, reassuring him.  “That’s what I want from you.  I always want the truth, even if you feel like you shouldn’t say it.”

“Yes, Domina,” he said, sighing with relief.  It was so strange, the effect her praise had on him.  How was it that two simple words could have such a strong effect?  Even before he was hers, he loved the sound of those words on her lips.  He wanted to earn more of that praise from her.

“Have you ever served women?” she asked, turning her focus back to his body.

“Yes, Domina,” he answered.  “But not often.  And not recently.”

She heard the hesitation in his voice.  “Do you not like servicing women?”

“I’m afraid I won’t be good at it, Domina,” he corrected quickly.

“Well, there’s only one way to find out.  But you still didn’t answer my question.  Do not like servicing women?  Do you prefer men or women?”

Yet another question he didn’t know how to answer.  “I… I’m a slave, Domina,” he stammered, confused.  “I don’t have a preference.”

“You don’t have a preference?” she asked.  “At all?”

Fear started creeping up in him.  Was he supposed to have a preference?  What if he didn’t?

Oh gods, but what if he did, and she wasn’t it?  What if he opened up that part of himself, and she wasn’t the gender he preferred?

No, his mind said sternly, recoiling from the idea.  You’re a slave.  Be a slave.

“Domina,” he said shakily, his heart pounding.  How could he tell her that he just couldn’t risk that?  Being trained not to have a preference made his life easier.  He couldn’t let that go.

But would she be angry at him for that?  Would she punish him for disobeying her?  Would her kindness and compassion stop?

“Hey, it’s alright,” she said, taking his hands.  “It’s alright, you don’t have to think about it.  I’ll leave it alone for now.  Come here, there’s something else you can do instead.”

Relieved, he followed her to the bed, and stood still, watching her as she pulled her nightgown up over her head.

He was stunned at what he saw underneath it.

The first thing he noticed was her beauty.  Thin and voluptuous, with dizzying curves and impossibly smooth, porcelain skin.  He wanted to touch her, to see if she was as smooth and soft as she looked.

But then he noticed that her skin was marred in a great number of places by scars, some impressively large and dark.  She was certainly no stranger to pain.

She chuckled as she noticed him staring at her.  “Yeah, agoge was fun.  As it turns out, most full-blooded Spartans don’t love it when a mothax outranks them.  The poor dears.  Come here, though.  I want your focus somewhere else.”

“Yes, Domina,” he replied, forcing himself to tear his eyes from her exquisite body.

He watched as she lied down, stretching out on the bed, her body moving hypnotically.  His eyes trailed down from her face, to her breasts, down her stomach, to the part of her that seemed to be simultaneously the most vulnerable and most intimidating part of her body.

It was the part of her body he was expected to service, and the idea made him unbelievably nervous.  She scared him, she terrified him.  But at the same time, he wanted to serve her.  He wanted to please her, to make her happy.  He wanted to bring her pleasure.

So, focusing on his desire to make her happy, he tentatively crawled onto the bed, lying between her legs, and shyly tasted the woman who owned him.

It wasn’t unpleasant, and she was very expressive, giving him enough feedback to learn quickly what she liked, and how best to service her.  He slowly gained confidence as his tongue dove through the folds of her body, licking, kissing, and sucking.

His mouth had always been particularly talented, he knew.  Many men knew just how talented his mouth was.  He was sure he could achieve the same level of skill with a woman, too.  And he would, with Charis.  He would show her how useful his mouth was.

Her soft moans fueled his desire to please her.  He could feel the muscles in her legs tense as the waves of pleasure swept over her.  And, just as when men used his mouth, he found himself swelling with pride as her pleasure mounted.  This was something he was skilled at, something he could do.  And he enjoyed seeing her react to the way his tongue felt on her.

When her fingers dove through his hair, gripping him and holding him against her, he intensified his movements, reading her reactions and her moans to judge how to bring her the most pleasure.

It was a skill he was very good at, and it didn’t take long for her to reach orgasm.

Her entire body tensed and she cried out with the strength of her orgasm.  Kieran slowly, gently licked her clean, swallowing all of her juices as she relaxed on the bed.

After a moment, she sighed contentedly and reached down as he rested his head against her thigh, running her fingers gently through his hair.

He burned to ask her if he’d satisfied her, if he’d lived up to her expectations.  He had almost gathered enough courage to give voice to his question when the door opened suddenly.

Startled, Kieran looked back to see a strange man, wearing a helot’s tunic, walk in as if he owned the place.  The man grinned widely at the two of them before his eyes met Charis’.

“Did I miss all the fun?” he asked

“Rowyn!” Charis exclaimed happily, sliding out from under Kieran and rising to her feet.  She crossed the room in a few steps and threw herself into the man’s arms.

He hugged her tightly, lowering his head and burying her face in her hair.  The embrace was so loving, so affectionate, so intimate, that Kieran averted his gaze, feeling as if he were intruding on them.

Still, he couldn’t bring himself to keep his eyes lowered for long.  There was obvious love between them, something so much purer and deeper than he’d ever seen before.  Dryas had certainly never regarded anyone the way Charis regarded this slave.  Her joy in seeing him had been palpable, and the way she held him made Kieran’s heart ache.

Would anyone ever hold him like that?  Would anyone ever love him the way his new owner loved her pet?

Kieran was surprised, too, to discover how old Rowyn was.  He had to be in his mid-forties, at least.

But just as surprising as his age was the fact that being in his forties didn’t detract from the man’s beauty in any way.  He was tall, fit, and very obviously still in the prime of his life.

Our world doesn’t work that way, Charis had said to him when they brought him home.  Not everyone treats slaves the way you’ve been treated.

All he’d known had been Dryas and his friends.  Were there others who didn’t sell their slaves when they hit 35?  Were there other slaves who still looked this good at 40, 45, or 50?  Or older?

Finally, Charis pulled away and turned to face Kieran, but Rowyn wasn’t satisfied with just standing near her.  He threaded his arms under hers, around her waist and pulled her back against him.  She seemed delighted by the slave’s very bold actions.

“Rowyn, this is Kieran.  He’s the newest addition to the house.”

“It’s a pleasure,” Rowyn said politely, although it was clear his focus was elsewhere.  He lowered his head, kissing and nibbling her bare shoulder.

“Kieran, this is Rowyn,” she explained, leaning back against him.  “He had to go to Mystras to survey a symposium for me.”

“Hello,” Kieran said awkwardly, unsure of how to address his owner’s primary slave.

Rowyn lifted his head to smile warmly at the boy, then pressed his cheek affectionately against Charis’ ear, whispering something to her.

Charis’ lips turned up in a mischievous, wolfish smile at the slave’s words.  “Kieran, darling,” she said, turning to face Rowyn.  “You may get dressed and enjoy some free time.  I’ll be unavailable for a bit.”

“Yes, Domina,” Kieran replied, quickly rising off the bed and grabbing his tunic.

“You have free reign of the house,” she told him as he walked past them, to the door.  “But don’t go outside.”

“Yes, Domina.”

He hurried out of the room, closing the door behind him.  As he did, he heard Charis giggling playfully from the other side.

Once he was dressed again, he thought about going to his room, then decided against it.  It would be comfortable in his room, alone, but curiosity got the best of him.  Given the freedom to explore, he wanted to learn more about the place he was now living in.

His mind wandered as he walked slowly, aimlessly, through the halls.  Rowyn had gone to the next town over, to survey a symposium.  That’s what Charis had said.

What did that mean?

Was Rowyn, a slave, really given the authority to make business decisions on his owner’s behalf?  Had he actually been allowed to travel on his own, to judge a symposium on his own, and then trusted to return?

Most slaves would have jumped at the opportunity to escape.  Granted, trying to flee Laconia from as far south as Sparta or Mystras would be difficult, but it was a well-known fact that Epirus, which bordered Laconia to the northwest, was a country that did not share the Spartan tradition of slavery.

The chances of successfully making the journey were slim, but for many helots, the risk was worth it.

But not, apparently, for Rowyn.  He’d been given the authority to travel and make decisions in the name of his owner, and had come back.  More than that, he’d been genuinely overjoyed to return to his owner’s arms.

It was an odd concept.  But then again, Kieran was quickly learning that his new owner did not conform to what he had expected.  Perhaps he’d be happy to return too, if he had a loving, caring, kind owner to return to.

He absently made his way down the stairs, and walked past the library.  He paused when he saw Taber alone in the room, reclining on a large, overstuffed chair reading.

Taber looked up to him as he stood in the doorway.  “Kieran,” he said cheerfully.  “Come in, you don’t have to be shy.”

Kieran hesitated only a moment before walking into the room.  Ilya’s slave was quiet and reserved, but friendly, with a calming nature.  Kieran liked him.  Liked being around him.

So he awkwardly stepped into the library, gazing at the shelves upon shelves of books.

“How are you adjusting?” Taber asked.

“Very well, thank you.”

The older slave chuckled softly and set his book down.  “You know, the only person I’ve ever met who is better at reading people than I am is Domina.  That lie won’t fool her, either.”

Kieran blushed, turning to face Taber and leaning back against the shelf.  “I’m alright, I really am.”

“I told you before,” Taber said patiently.  “You don’t have to pretend here.  I can tell that you’re uneasy.  You can talk to me.”

Kieran sighed.  There was no hiding from those observant brown eyes.  “I’m not sure what’s expected of me,” he admitted finally.  “I’ve been here for days, and Domina only used me once, just now.  Then, she left me alone.  I don’t even know if I pleased her.  I want to make her happy, and serve her the way she wants, but I don’t know how.  I’m afraid she’ll punish me for misbehaving, but I don’t know how to behave.”

Taber smiled gently.  “Domina is one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet,” he said.  “But she’s human.  She has faults, just like everyone else.  Sometimes, she forgets to acknowledge other people’s emotions.  She’s not particularly emotional, so she naturally assumes everyone else is the same.  You don’t have to worry, though.  She’s a good woman, and she’s fair and kind.  She won’t punish you for not knowing how to behave.”

“Are you sure?”

“If you make a mistake, it’ll just remind her that she needs to spend more time training you.  And she will.  She doesn’t play games, and she doesn’t ever want you to have to guess at what she wants.  She’ll teach you.  As hard as it may be for you to believe, she actually wants you to be happy.  It’s something that’s very, very important to her.  She wants you to be just as comfortable here as Rowyn, Cullen, and I are.  And she will go out of her way to make sure that happens.  You just have to be a bit patient with her sometimes, if she gets distracted.”

Kieran didn’t know what to think about Taber’s words.  He had just spoken ill of their owner.  What if Ilya had heard that?

“Relax,” Taber said.  “She will admit those faults herself.  Acknowledging the fact that our owner isn’t perfect is an important part of serving her.  We have to accept and acknowledge the fact that she’s not infallible.  She will make mistakes.  Pretending she’s perfect will set us up for failure.  That’s something she’ll teach you, too.”

“I don’t ever want to anger her,” Kieran said quickly.  “I’d never dream of insulting my owner.”

Taber sighed.  “Dominus has blond hair,” he said.  “Is my acknowledgement of that insulting?”

“No,” Kieran replied, confused.

“Why not?”

“Because pointing out his hair color isn’t an insult.”

“Exactly.  Pointing out the truth isn’t an insult.  Dominus has his faults, too.  He’s not perfect, either.  He tries to be, because he was once a slave, and knows firsthand how bad it can be.  But he makes mistakes, too.  It’s not an insult, and it’s not disrespectful.  It’s the truth.  Acknowledging that truth allows me to serve him wholeheartedly, to remain genuinely happy to serve him even when he makes mistakes.  It helps me better serve him.  It makes me a better slave to him.”

“Doesn’t he ever get offended?”

Taber shrugged.  “He has moments where he’ll lose his temper,” the slave admitted.  “But he’s never cruel, and he’s never caused me harm.  If I were to say something that upsets him, he’ll talk to me about it.”

“He won’t punish you?”

“He might, depending on the situation.  But even when he does, he’ll always talk to me first.”

Kieran sighed, raking a hand through his hair.  “This is too much,” he murmured.

Taber nodded in agreement.  “It’s a lot to take in.  But just be patient, both with Domina, and with yourself.  She’ll teach you everything you need to know.  Try to relax.  Pick up a book, if you want.  Domina will call for you when she wants you.”

Kieran turned, looking to the books on the shelf behind him.  There really wasn’t anything better to do, and he liked being in the company of the quiet, gentle slave.  He picked a book at random and opened it, looking at the pages cramped with small letters.

“Can you read?” Taber asked.

“I was taught,” Kieran answered.  “When I was younger.  I’ve forgotten most of it, though.”

“Well, that book probably won’t be a great place to start.  That’s advanced psychology.  It’s pretty boring stuff.  Domina loves it, though.  I can help you learn to read, if you’d like.”

“Would that be alright with Domina?” Kieran asked nervously.

“Of course.  She encourages it.  Come here, we’ll look at this one.  It’s not difficult to understand.”

Taber moved to the side of the large sitting chair, giving Kieran room to sit beside him.  “Alright, what do you remember?”

Superiority

So I was having a conversation with a gentleman who subscribes to the ideology of female supremacy.  It’s a view I don’t share.

But we were discussing it, what he likes about it, and what I dislike about it.  And things were going well.

Until he said, “It just means so much more to serve my wife, because she’s superior to me in every way.  I don’t think it would mean as much if she wasn’t.  Like if you’re not physically bigger and stronger, and smarter than your subs, how can you really exert control over them?”

Um… what?

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  The guy is happily married to a woman he loves.  It works for the two of them, it’s what they want, and I’m sure as hell in no place to tell someone that their lifestyle choices aren’t valid.

But, um… what?

Okay, I mean, I have a very healthy love of myself.  I know what I’m good at, what my strengths are, and in what areas few people on the planet stand on equal footing with me.

I also know that there are things I’m not good at, things I struggle with, and weaknesses I have.  As much as I love myself (and I love myself a lot), the kind of arrogance and conceitedness required to not acknowledge that there are areas where my subs are better than I am is completely unthinkable for a normal, sane human being.

A perfect example of that was just the other day, talking to Sounder.  We got on the subject of how often tact, finesse, and diplomacy are required in his job.  And he joked that I, given my habit of being very blunt, probably wouldn’t excel in that position.

And he’s completely, 100% right.  I’d lose all patience about 4 minutes in and just start telling people off.  The level of diplomacy his job requires isn’t something that comes easily to me.  I just don’t care enough to be diplomatic.  If there’s a problem, I care more about solving it quickly and efficiently than sparing someone’s feelings.

He, on the other hand, has figured out that balance between quick-and-efficient and sparing-someone’s-feelings.

Hell yeah, I can acknowledge that there are things he’s better than me at.  Which is why, when I found myself in a situation where I had to play mediator between my mother and uncle, Sounder was the one I asked for help, because I knew he could see potential issues I couldn’t, and I wasn’t about to take any risks with tempers running that hot.

I joke that he’ll be my diplomat when I’m appointed Queen of the Universe.  And I can just see how that would go.  Like, I’d find out that some leader did something stupid, and I’d immediately want to chew the guy a new asshole or two, and I’d be like, “I want to talk to him, now.”

And Sounder would have to hold up a hand and say, “Okay, wait, I need to find out what actually happened first.”

“Cool, but I still want to talk to him, now.”

“It would be a really good idea to not yell at him right this minute.”

“I know.  I’m going to yell at him in like, 3 minutes.”

“Holding off on yelling at him for now will benefit you more in the long run.”

“Ugh, fine.  But I want to know the second I can yell at him.”

He’s got a patience with people that I just don’t.

There are things Kazander is better than me at.  He’s a fucking genius when it comes to numbers and money management.  He can take control of the finances of someone who files for bankruptcy and completely turn it around in such a short amount of time.  I’m serious, I’ve literally never met anyone as good with numbers as he is.  It’s wild.  So obviously, he’s the one who handles our money and our budget.

He’s tried to talk to me about the stock market, and investing, and what I should do with the life insurance money if he died.

My solution: Just don’t fucking die.  Problem solved.  See?  There’s that quick-and-efficient thing again.

Yeah, if I sat down and really researched the shit out of it, I could probably get on at least a comparable level to him, but I’ll never have the comfort with it that he does, or the speed he does, or just the natural ability he does.  I’d have to constantly have to work at it, while it comes easily to him.

The awesome thing is that it looks like the spawn inherited that ability from him.  I mean, it’s still too early to tell, but math is definitely her strongest subject.

I can even admit when one of my subs knows more than I do in the fields I pride myself in.

Not many people know more about the English language than I do.  But Steel does.  And on the very rare occasion where I’ve had a question or needed help with something, he’s the one I’ve gone to.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s nothing wrong with those who serve me being better at something than me or knowing more about something than me.  I’d get bored if they didn’t.

And as far as physical size and strength, I mean, I’m 5’9″, and I’m no delicate flower.  And yeah, there’s something kind of hot about playing with a guy shorter than me, or smaller than me, or not as physically strong as I am.  I’ve always enjoyed it.

Most men aren’t shorter than me or smaller than me, though.  Kazander’s taller than I am.  Sounder’s about my height, maybe a little bit taller, and he’s strong enough to break metal fucking chain, m’kay.  Literally without even trying.  He’s a hell of a lot stronger than not just me, but pretty much everyone.  If he wanted a Domme who could physically overpower him, basically his only option would be a professional bodybuilder.

And I don’t know, I just have this idea of what it means to lead people in general.  Like, if the only people you could get to follow you were weaker/smaller/less intelligent/more inexperienced than you, can you really call yourself an effective leader?

Or does it mean more when even the strongest, the smartest, the best and brightest, the most elite, choose to follow you?  Not because they are inferior or because they have no choice, but because they want to follow you?  Because something about you inspires and motivates them, and earns their respect?

I kind of feel like D/s relationships are the same way.  I mean, of course, again, people want what they want, and as long as they’re happy, who am I to judge?  But a blanket statement about D/s not meaning as much unless the sub is inferior to the Dominant in every way?  That just seems to be literally the opposite of what it should be.

I think D/s means more if the sub is equal to the Dominant, or superior in some aspects.

Because at that point, he’s not choosing to submit to her because he feels like he has to.  He’s not submitting because he sees himself as weak.  He knows he’s strong, he knows he’s intelligent, he knows he’s capable and competent and can handle anything life throws at him.

He’s choosing to submit to her because there’s something about her that draws him in.  Something about her, specifically, that has earned his respect.  His trust.  Not just because she is a woman.  Because she, as an individual, is worthy of his submission.  Because she, as a person, has inspired him to want to follow her.

I don’t ever want someone to submit to me because I’m a woman.  I don’t ever want someone to submit to me because they see themselves as inferior to me, and could never stand on equal footing with me.  I want someone to submit to me because I, as an individual person, have earned it.

Because the submission of a strong man is a very precious gift.  He doesn’t need to give it to anyone.  He can handle life on his own.

And he’s not going to give that gift to just anybody.  He’s not going to let just anyone control him.  He’s not going to follow anyone just because.

It has to be earned.  And it means so much more to me, because they’ve made the conscious decision to give me that gift.  Not because I’m a woman.  Not because I’m superior or inferior.

Because I’m me.

The super badass way I injured myself, part 2

Okay, so admittedly, this is more badass than the first one.

And, interestingly enough, like the first one, this was also caused by my boobs being so big.

I decided I wanted to learn how to shoot long, pointy things into other things. So I bought a bow, some arrows, all the other crap you need, and had a short intro lesson with one of the instructors.

As it turns out, I cannot do the beginner stance, because it requires standing perpendicular to the target and pulling the string across your body. We quickly discovered that I couldn’t pull the string back nearly far enough without having to go around my boob and holding it in the middle of the two.

Which, of course, would result in some massive bruises when I released the string.

So I have to do a more open stance. I face more toward the target, which gives me more clearance in my chest.

Which isn’t a huge deal, but they don’t teach it to beginners because it’s more physically taxing, more difficult to achieve proper form (if you haven’t already mastered proper form in the square stance), and much easier to develop bad habits.

Still, it’s doable. But you know that proper form thing? And the bad habits thing?

One of the common beginner problems is not rotating your elbow out. When you release the string and your elbow isn’t out, it will slap against your arm.

No big deal, right? Just a little sting, right?

Um….

20170806_033604

20170807_124141

And this is what it looked like the next morning.

Looks badass, right? I mean, granted, that’s not just one hit. I caught my arm 3 times. And all three times, I was quickly and effectively reminded how important proper form is.

So it’s a lot of fun, and string slap definitely motivates me to learn how to do it correctly. It’s not excruciating pain, but it’s painful enough to not want to do it again.

Busty girl problems, man. It’s no joke.

Written in Stone, Part 3

A knock at the door startled Kieran awake.  He bolted upright, instantly alert and confused by his surroundings.  He found himself in a bed, in a strange room, with sunlight pouring through the window.

The door was already opening by the time he remembered where he was, and that he’d been sold to the kind symposiarch who told him to relax and who let him sleep in a bed.

The woman who was walking into his room now.

Gods, his room.  How would he ever get used to that?

“Good morning,” she said brightly, smiling as she walked into the room.  “Did you sleep well?”

“Yes, Domina,” he replied, still trying to get his bearings.

Charis opened the top drawer of the dresser and pulled out a dark blue tunic.  “Here you go,” she said.  “All of these will fit you.  You’ve got socks and longer tunics for in public here in the middle drawer.  Winter clothes are in the bottom, but we obviously won’t need those for awhile.  Shoes are here below the dresser.”

“Yes, Domina,” he said awkwardly, taking the tunic she held out to him.

“After breakfast, I’ll take you on a tour of the house.  It’s not as big as where you used to live, but it works for us.”

She flashed him a wide grin.  “Besides, I love this house.  I’m always happy to show it off.”

“Yes, Domina,” he said, smiling shyly.

She was actually having a conversation with him.  His owner, a Spartan, a symposiarch, was having a conversation with him.

It felt odd as hell.

He wasn’t sure what to say, so he focused on changing his clothes, removing the tunic he was wearing and replacing it with the one she handed him.

She chuckled, and he looked back up to see her watching him.  “You’ll get used to it soon,” she told him.

“Domina?”

“The small talk.  I can tell you’re not used to it.”

He blushed.  “I’m sorry, Domina.”

“You don’t have to be sorry.  I know it’s different for you.  Come on, let’s go have some breakfast.”

“Yes, Domina.”

He silently followed her through the hall and downstairs, into the dining room.

And he stopped cold when he walked in the room.

In the center of the room was a thick, heavy rectangular table.  Ilya sat at the end of the table, facing them.  He looked up as they walked in and flashed Kieran a warm smile.  To his left sat a dark-haired man who appeared to be in his late twenties.

The chair at the opposite end of the table was empty, presumably Charis’ place.  The chair to her right was empty, as well.  Opposite the empty chair sat another dark-haired man, who seemed to be in his late thirties.  Kieran was surprised at seeing a slave that old.

Why did Charis Athanasiadi, the most popular symposiarch in Laconia, have such an old slave?  She could afford the best, the most beautiful, the youngest out there.  While this man was undeniably attractive, he was definitely over 35.

Was he a pet?

Was that why he was sitting at the table with his owners?

“Come, you can sit in Rowyn’s place for now,” Charis said.  “He won’t be back until tomorrow, and we’ll get you a chair this afternoon.”

She put a hand on the small of his back, gently pushing him forward.  He numbly obeyed, unable to process what was happening.  He didn’t know what to think as he sank down into the chair.  At the same table as his owners.  With two other slaves.

“I’ll do the introductions,” Charis announced as she sat in her own place at the head of the table.  “You know Ilya, obviously.  This is Taber, Ilya’s slave.”

Taber smiled kindly at him.  “Hello,” he said softly.  Kieran could only nod, still too stunned to speak.

“And this is one of my slaves, Cullen,” Charis said, gesturing to the man who sat across from Kieran.

“How’s it going?” Cullen asked casually, grinning.  He had an infectious smile, and Kieran couldn’t help but return it, despite the color rising in his cheeks.

“You’ll meet Rowyn tomorrow.  He had to go to Mystras for a few days.”

Kieran nodded mutely, not bothering to try to figure out why a slave would have to go to the next town over, without his owner.

“Oh, and this is Abby,” Charis declared as the door behind Cullen opened, revealing a plump, stern-faced woman with graying hair carrying a large tray.

“Cullen, don’t you dare,” she snapped, not even bothering to look at the man she was addressing.  Kieran turned to see that Cullen had started to rise to his feet to help the woman.

Her harsh tone and stern expression made Kieran nervous, but Cullen chuckled, lowering himself back to his chair.  He seemed unfazed by her reprimand.  “One day, you’re going to surprise us all and let me help you, Miss Abby.”

“Hmph,” she scoffed as she placed a platter in front of Charis.

“Abby takes great pride in her work,” Charis explained to Kieran.  “Especially her cooking.  She doesn’t want anyone helping her.”

“Exactly, so don’t you go getting any ideas either, little one,” she said, wagging a finger at him as she made her way to the other side of the table, to serve Ilya next.  “And stay out of my kitchen.”

Kieran shrank back.  “Yes, Ma’am.”

“Look at that, Miss Abby,” Cullen said.  “You’re scaring the children again.  You’re too young and too pretty to do the wicked witch of the kitchen bit.”

She glared at him.  “I have three sons quite a bit bigger than you are, and they’re not too big to be bent over my knee and spanked.  The same goes for you.”

Cullen scoffed.  “I’ve been trying to get you to bend me over your knee for years.”

“You’re impossible.  A completely incorrigible man.”

“But I’m not boring.”

Kieran watched the exchange, not sure what to think.  Abby was smaller, and slighter, than a Spartan woman.  Her features were rounder and softer, her lips were smaller, and her shoulders were narrower.  It was obvious that Abby was a perioeci.  A free person.  And Cullen was a slave.  But they talked and joked as if they were equals.

He stole a glance to his owner, and was even more surprised to see her grinning at the exchange.  So she didn’t disapprove of it.  She didn’t disapprove of her slaves talking to a free person as if they were equals.

And this perioeci didn’t mind a slave talking to her like they were equals, either.

Well, he did still call her Miss Abby.  So maybe just the title was enough, and as long as she was shown respect, she was fine with the slaves talking to her so casually.

Abby served Ilya, then went around the table, putting a plate in front of each of the three slaves.  Kieran shifted uncomfortably in his seat as she put his plate down.  It felt so awkward to have someone serve him.  Even more awkward having a free person serve him.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” he said softly.

Abby paused, standing above him.  “Where did you get this one?” she asked, looking to Charis.

“Dryas Roubanis.”

“I don’t know the name.  How bad is he?”

Charis’ expression hardened for an instant, then became somber.  “I think it’ll take Kieran awhile to adjust,” she answered simply.

It was that Spartan way of speaking, of saying so much more than the few words they spoke.  Abby was perioeci, but had been working for Charis long enough to hear everything Charis didn’t say.

She turned her attention back to Kieran.  “Look at me,” she commanded gently.  Kieran obeyed, looking up at her with wide, frightened eyes.

“Oh, you poor thing.  You look like a baby deer in headlights.  Don’t worry, Bambi.  I’m not going to yell at you.”

“She’s not as mean as she pretends to be,” Ilya put in, grinning in between bites of his food.  “Don’t let her scare you.  She’s just a big old, blubbering teddy bear.  Sweet as honey.”

“You, sir,” she said.  “You don’t sign my paychecks.  And I’m willing to bet the one who does would not be opposed to me beating you with a wooden spoon.”

“You’d win that bet,” Charis said dryly.

“There, see?  She’s on my side.”

“But I can just use Taber as a human shield.  He’s too sweet, you won’t beat him.”

“He likes being beaten.  I’ll make an exception.”

Ilya rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air.  “I can’t win with you, woman.”

“That’s as it should be.  Eat, all of you.  I didn’t spend two hours on this for you to let it go cold.”

She turned on her heel and walked through the door, back to the kitchen.  Charis chuckled, shaking her head as she turned her attention back to the food on her plate.

Kieran looked down at his own plate, surprised by the amount of food he saw there.  Scrambled eggs, a piece of toast, and a slice of cantaloupe.  It was more than he usually got on any given day.

“We’re putting you on a bland diet for a few days, with smaller amounts of food, until your system has time to adjust,” Charis said, reminding him.  “Don’t worry, in a week or so you’ll have just as much food as we do.”

“Thank you, Domina.”

“Have you ever used a fork before?”

Kieran blushed, looking down at the utensils in front of him.  “No, Domina.”

“How did you eat when Dryas owned you?”

“From a dog bowl.  Or off the floor.  Sometimes off the bottom of his shoes.”

“That fucking bastard,” Ilya growled.  Kieran flinched at the force in his voice and instinctively lowered his head, folding his hands in his lap.

Charis reached over and patted his leg, silently reassuring him.

“And he’s just going to buy another one,” Ilya continued.  “And treat that one just as bad.  He’s not going to stop just because we took away his toy.  Gods, and he’s mild compared to others.”

“Ilya,” Charis said quietly, reminding him to get control of his temper.

“I’m calm,” he snapped angrily.  “And I’m happy that we got Kieran out of there.  But that doesn’t solve the problem.  I can name a dozen slave owners ten times worse than Dryas.”

As Ilya spoke, getting angrier and angrier, Taber silently set his fork down and slid out of his chair, his head disappearing under the table.  A moment later, Ilya let out a frustrated groan, obviously finding it hard to stay angry.

“You use that against me far too often, you know that?” he said, looking down to his lap.

“You make it too easy,” Charis told him, not bothering to look up from her plate, or to hide the wry smile on her face.

“Oh give me more credit than that, Char.  You’ve felt his mouth.  Try staying focused on anything else.”

“Well, finish quickly.  If Abby walks in and sees your cock in his mouth, instead of her food, we’ll never hear the end of it.”

“Have you met Taber, Domina?” Cullen asked.  “It’s impossible not to be quick.”

As if on cue, Ilya reached under the table to grab Taber by the back of his head, shoving his cock as deep into Taber’s mouth as it would go.  He moaned softly as he came.

After a moment, he released Taber.  “Alright, get back up here and finish your food before it gets cold.”

Taber reappeared and sat back down in his chair, smiling triumphantly.  Ilya rolled his eyes when he saw the slave’s expression.

“Gods, get that shit-eating grin off your face,” he chided playfully.  “You win, you don’t need to rub it in.”

“I’m sorry, Dominus,” Taber said, in a tone that implied he wasn’t the least bit sorry.

“I think every war in history could’ve been avoided with a well-timed, wholehearted blowjob,” Cullen said.

“Because you can’t be angry while you’re mid-orgasm,” Ilya pointed out.  He looked to his slave and smiled.  “At least when Taber is the one giving you the orgasm.”

Taber gave a shy smile, the hint of a blush rising in his cheeks.  Ilya reached over and ruffled the slave’s hair affectionately.

Kieran ate his food silently, watching the people around him.  They all looked so comfortable with each other.  Cullen and Taber didn’t keep their guard up the way other slaves did around their owners.  They didn’t communicate with each other at all with the hidden slave language.  Even the nonverbal cues.

But then again, if Ilya really was a neodamode, then they wouldn’t be able to hide anything from him, anyway.  Trying would’ve been pointless.

But even with that, it just didn’t seem like they were worried.  They were relaxed, and carefree, and unguarded.  They spoke openly, laughed freely, and met their owners’ eyes without fear.  They seemed to genuinely enjoy being in the company of their owners.

Of course, every slave appeared to enjoy the company of their owners.  It’s something every helot learned from a young age.  They appeared to enjoy their owners’ company, they appeared to enjoy being a slave, they appeared to enjoy all the things that were done to them.  A helot could make a free man believe they loved and adored him.  Even if his very presence repulsed and sickened them.  There were no better actors in the world than helots.

But these two were either much better actors than Kieran had ever seen, or they weren’t acting at all.

Abby returned shortly, just as everyone was finishing up, and gathered the dishes.  Charis turned to Kieran and extended her hand to him.  “Come on,” she said cheerfully.  “I’ll show you the house.”

“Yes, Domina,” he said, taking her outstretched hand and letting her lead him out of the dining room.

“Through that side door is the kitchen,” she said, gesturing to the second door in the dining room.  “You can also get there through the living room, across the hall.  There’s a breakfast nook in there, and that’s where we eat when Abby isn’t here, or if we’re hungry during the day, or whatever.  Down the hall this way is the mud room, utility room, and the door at the end of the hall leads to the garage and the courtyard.”

She led him into the living room, where a large TV dominated one wall and an even larger fireplace dominated another.  “Through there is the kitchen.  I’ll show you that later.  Right after meals is a pretty busy time for Abby, and she likes having her space.  This is the living room.  We have a game room through here and a formal sitting room for entertaining guests.”

She took him through to the foyer, then to the library and her study.  She laughed as she left the room.  “Ilya uses it more than I do, though,” she told him.  “He’s so much better at all of that tedious paperwork than I am.  You’d be surprised how boring running a symposium can be.”

“Yes, Domina.”

“My fitness room is through here,” she said.  “I spend far more time here than in the study.”

Upstairs, she showed him where Cullen’s, Taber’s, and Rowyn’s rooms were.  Kieran was surprised to find that they each got their own room.  And it appeared that there was at least one extra bedroom unused.

“There’s a guest bedroom downstairs, too,” Charis said, guessing what he was thinking.  “That was one of the biggest priorities when I bought this house.  I get my symposium slaves from all kinds of places, and some of them are pretty rough when I first buy them.  It’s easier to keep them here while they adjust, and I didn’t want to be limited by space.”

She showed him the master bedroom, where she slept.  “Ilya usually sleeps in Taber’s room,” she explained.  “He often wakes up in the middle of the night, and they can get noisy.”

“Yes, Domina.”

They left the room, walked a bit farther down the hall, then she stopped at the end, in front of a closed door.  “I wanted to save this one for last,” she said, hesitating at the door.  “It might be a little scary, but remember that you won’t come to any harm here.”

Kieran’s heart raced.  “Yes, Domina.”

She paused just a moment more, then opened the door, stepping aside so he could see in.

Kieran looked in the room, and felt his heart plummet to his feet.

Charis stepped behind him, putting her hands on his shoulders.  “Take a deep breath, love,” she murmured.  “You’re alright.”

Kieran tried to obey, but his body wouldn’t cooperate.  His lungs had seized up, and he felt like he was choking.

It was a large room, with a padded table and sawhorse in the center, a cage and a St. Andrew’s Cross in opposite corners, and a spanking bench beside the door.  Every kind of whip, flogger, paddle, and instrument of pain he could think of hung from hooks on the walls.  Cuffs, collars, chains, and rope hung from other hooks.

It was overwhelming.

But it shouldn’t have been.  She was a symposiarch, after all.

She knows ways of causing pain that Dryas could never even imagine, that voice inside him said.  And now she owns you.

“Come on, Kieran,” Charis urged, pulling him back.  “Come on, you need to get out of this room.”

Numbly, he allowed her to pull him back out into the hallway.  Her eyes narrowed with concern when she saw his face.  “Kieran, you’re as white as a sheet,” she murmured.  “It’s alright, I promise.  You have nothing to be afraid of.”

But he couldn’t hear her over the rushing sound in his ears.  The walls seemed to be closing in on him, and the floor seemed to be spinning beneath him.

“Stay here,” Charis said.  She walked a bit down the hall, to a small dark box on the wall, and pressed a button.  “I need Taber at the training room, alone,” she said hastily into the box.  “Right now.”

She didn’t wait for a response, but hurried back to Kieran.  “It’ll be alright,” she assured him.

He stumbled back against the wall, nauseous and dizzy.  That little voice in his head was screaming now, screaming that what he’d suffer at the hands of this woman he’d thought was kind would be far worse than anything Dryas could’ve done to him.

And he still had 15 years.  Gods, he wouldn’t survive.

He wanted to run, but his training locked his limbs, keeping him rooted in place.  But even being publicly slaughtered by the Crypteia would be better than being tortured and used at the symposium for sick entertainment.

“Kieran.”

The new voice startled him, and he looked up to see Ilya’s slave, Taber, standing in front of him.  Charis was nowhere to be seen.

“Come here,” Taber said gently, holding out a hand to help steady him.

Hesitantly, Kieran took it, and allowed Taber to lead him down the hall, to the older slave’s room.

“Sit down,” Taber said as he closed the door.  “Tell me what’s going through your head right now.”

Kieran wrapped his arms around himself, rocking back and forth on the bed.  “Fifteen years,” he whispered.

“You’re spiraling,” Taber told him.  “You need to slow down, and quiet your mind.  Otherwise you’ll just keep spiraling.  Take a deep breath.  Focus on something small.”

Taber abruptly walked to the nightstand, opened the drawer, and pulled out a short length of rope that had been tangled into an impossible knot.  He tossed it on Kieran’s lap.

“Untie that,” he said.  “Take your time, but untie the whole thing.”

Kieran looked up to meet Taber’s gaze, confused at the order.  But this was very obviously Ilya’s pet, and it would be a good idea to do what he said, regardless of how strange it sounded.

So Kieran turned his attention to the knot, studying the tangled mess to figure out where to start.

Taber sat down at the end of the bed, watching him silently.

It was a really complicated knot, and the longer Kieran worked on it, the more of his focus it required.  Finally, he took a deep breath, sighing deeply as the tension left his body.

“Feel better?” Taber asked.

Kieran sighed again, putting the rope down.  “She probably knows more ways to torture someone than any two other people combined.”

Taber shrugged.  “Probably.”

“And she owns me.”

“Yes.”

“I let my guard down.  She was so nice.  She talked to me.  She, she promised me that everything would be okay.  And I let my guard down.  I believed her.”

“What do you think will happen now?” Taber asked neutrally.

“Gods,” Kieran whimpered.  “I don’t know.  I, I can’t… I can’t even imagine the ways she’ll hurt me.”

“So you think she’ll hurt you.”

Kieran looked up to meet Taber’s gaze.  “She’s a symposiarch.”

“Yes, she is.”

“She has… There’s that room.”

“The training room, yes.”

“The things in that room…”

“Are not for you,” Taber interrupted.

“Who are they for?”

“Most of the time, for Rowyn and me,” Taber explained.  “I’m a masochist.  I like being hit.  And Rowyn likes being tied up, and sometimes being treated pretty brutally when they get deep into their sessions.  Cullen isn’t a masochist, and he had it kind of rough before Domina found him, so she doesn’t hit him, and only rarely restrains him.”

“She doesn’t?”

“No.  And she won’t hit you, either.  That’s not what she does.  That’s not who she is.”

“But the symposium…”

“Have you ever been to her symposium?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know what happens there?”

“My former Dominus…”

Taber shook his head.  “Domina is not Dryas, Kieran.”

Kieran felt a spike of adrenaline shoot down his spine.  Had Taber really called him by his first name?  Out loud?  But he was a helot, and Dryas was Spartan nobility.  Even when alone, no helot felt comfortable enough taking that risk.

But Taber had said it, as casually as if he’d been referring to another helot.

“I’m telling you,” he said, seeing Kieran’s thoughts in his expression.  “She’s not like the owners you’ve been exposed to.  There’s a reason her symposium is so popular.  Because it’s different than the others.  She doesn’t harm people.  She won’t hurt you.”

Kieran took a deep breath.  “I’m scared.”

“I know.  It’s scary at first.  Waking up one day and discovering that you’re owned by a symposiarch is scary.  But you saw the way she is with us.  I’ve been here for five years.  Cullen has been here for three.  Rowyn’s been hers for ten years, before she even graduated from agoge.  She’s never mistreated any of us, in all that time.  Even if you can’t trust her yet, trust us.”

“What if I can’t please her?  What if I can never be as comfortable as you and Cullen?”

“Do you know where Cullen came from?”

“No.”

“It was right when Domina was under a lot of pressure from nobility to expand again.  She got a call from another symposiarch, who ran a popular symposium on the other side of town.  He offered her a deal that seemed too good to be true.  He would give her 60% ownership of his symposium if he could operate under her brand.  She would’ve also gotten 33% of all his profits.”

“Is that a lot?” Kieran asked.

“For just a name?  Yeah, it seemed like a lot.  Dominus thought it was a great idea, but something about him just rubbed Domina the wrong way.  She met him, she toured his symposium early in the day, before it opened, and everything seemed fine, but she just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.  And you could just see it in her face whenever they talked about him.  Something about him just didn’t seem right, and it bothered her, but she couldn’t figure out what.”

“What did she do?” Kieran asked.

“She got guest passes for herself and Dominus under a different name, and we all went to the symposium unannounced.  While her symposium was open.  So he had no idea she was coming, and no reason to think she’d show up when she was expected to be running her own place.”

“She took you, too?”

Taber nodded.  “You know how it is.  Slaves can talk when free people aren’t around.  They’d be more comfortable talking to Rowyn or me about how they were treated than they would to her or Dominus.  That, and slaves can often go unseen.  A lot of the time, people don’t pay attention to us.  We could eavesdrop and observe in a way that she couldn’t.  The free people would recognize her as soon as she walked in.  But no one there would know me or Rowyn.”

“I didn’t know it was permitted to bring personal slaves to a symposium.”

“Different ones have different rules.  And even when it’s allowed, it’s generally not a good idea, unless it’s a symposium like Domina’s.  You can’t ever be sure what to expect.”

“Was she worried that you’d be mistreated?”

“Oh, definitely.  She didn’t even want to bring us, at first.  She really didn’t trust the symposiarch.  Rowyn was the one who convinced her that it made the best business sense.  And really, we both knew that, even if something were to happen, it wouldn’t be anything we couldn’t handle.  Domina and Dominus would have to stay away from us most of the time, so no one would realize we’re theirs, but we knew they’d be watching out for us.”

Kieran wasn’t sure what to think about that.  They still wanted to go, even knowing that something bad happening was a legitimate possibility.  They would take that risk?

“As soon as we walked in, we all knew it was bad,” Taber continued.  “The whole energy of the place felt off, and half of the helots were like zombies.  The other half were crying, or screaming, or struggling, or begging to die.  None of them wanted to be there.  And none of the members cared.  They seemed to like the fact that the helots were suffering.  They got off on it.”

Taber sighed, lowering his eyes.  “They brought Cullen out, naked, and tied him up in the center of the room.  At first, he looked like a zombie.  His face was blank, he didn’t react to anything.  But when the symposiarch started beating him, he started yelling and cursing.  There was so much anger there.  I’d never seen anything like it before.  I don’t think Domina had, either.  I remember standing next to Rowyn, and I looked over to her.  She was so still, unnaturally still, almost.  And she was just staring.  Like nothing else existed in the world, other than what was happening on that stage.

“It became a game for everyone.  They wanted to break him.  They wanted to beat the anger out of him.  It was like he became the focus of the entire symposium.  Everyone wanted to beat him.

“It took a long time, but they won.  He started crying and begging them to stop.  But instead of ending the game, they made it worse on him.  I thought they were going to kill him.  They might have, if Domina hadn’t stopped them.”

“Domina stopped them?” Kieran asked.

Taber nodded.  “She was so angry.  And as soon as everyone realized who she was, they looked like a bunch of scolded children.  She had Dominus untie him, and told Rowyn and me to help get him to the car.  She told the symposiarch she’d write him a check for Cullen, and that she’d be back the next day for his papers.  She was buying him, and she didn’t give the symposiarch a choice in the matter.  Everyone was too stunned to argue, and the symposiarch was too embarrassed to fight it.  She bought Cullen without even knowing his name.”

“The next day, she went back for the papers, and right after, she called a reporter and publicly denounced the symposium.  Of course, no one wanted to belong to a symposium denounced by Domina, so that symposiarch was out of business in a matter of weeks.”

Taber sighed heavily.  “It took much longer for Cullen to heal.  He was angry, he was scared, he wanted to hurt anyone who came close to him.  He was more animal than man, and he tried to run away every chance he got.  Domina had to keep him locked in his room or restrained at all times.  Dominus thought he was beyond saving, that he just couldn’t heal from wounds that deep.  But Domina never gave up on him.  She said that even if she had to restrict his movements forever, she would make sure that he would never know anything but kindness and gentleness.  Even when he turned 35, she refused to euthanize him or sell him.”

“What about freeing him?” Kieran asked.

But Taber shook his head.  “Only the free people and the uneducated think like that.  But it wouldn’t work in reality.  It rarely ever does.  In fact, it’s usually harder on the slaves than remaining under their owners’ power.”

“What do you mean?” Kieran asked.  How could freeing a slave be harder than remaining a slave?

“Well, take Cullen.  He’d been a slave all his life.  He was brutally tortured for seventeen years at that symposium.  What other life does he know?  How would he survive on the streets?  On his own?  That’s the problem with freeing helots, you see.  If you were freed tomorrow, you’d have to hold a job, you’d have to pay taxes, you’d have bills, you’d have to be a functioning member of society.  Do you have any idea how to do any of that?”

Kieran shook his head, lowering his gaze.  He’d never thought about that.

“And you’re still young.  Cullen was almost 35.  Imagine living with Dryas for fifteen years, spending a few months with Domina, and then being turned out on the street.  You’d be completely lost.  Freeing Cullen wouldn’t have helped him.  It probably would’ve made it worse.  Dominus suggested just putting him down.”

“Putting him down?” Kieran asked, incredulous.

“In a way, at the time, it was the kindest thing he could think of to do.  Cullen didn’t seem like he was getting any better.  He was just miserable all the time.  There was no indication that he’d ever get better.  Freeing him wasn’t an option, and selling him to the State would have just been cruel.  There was no other option in Dominus’ mind.  No way to take away his pain other than to just end it all.”

Kieran thought back to breakfast, the way Cullen always had some quip, the way he always had a smile behind his eyes.  It was hard to imagine that man the way Taber described him.

“It took a long time, but eventually Cullen started to trust Domina.  He started to trust that she wouldn’t hurt him.  And he started to get more comfortable here.”

Taber leveled a steady gaze at Kieran.  “The same will happen with you,” he said.  “It will take time, and you’ll probably get more frustrated with yourself than she ever will be with you.  But it’ll happen.  You’ll be able to relax.”

Kieran sighed.  He couldn’t imagine ever being comfortable around the intimidating woman.

That night, he sat in Rowyn’s seat again, and was again taken aback by the amount of food he was given, and the way Cullen and Taber seemed so at ease.  The entire day had been spent trying to figure Charis out, trying to figure out what was expected of him, and growing increasingly frustrated that he couldn’t.

Charis noticed the exhaustion in his eyes.  “Kieran?  Are you alright?”

Kieran blushed, unnerved by the fact that she could see through his neutral façade.  “Yes, Domina,” he replied quietly.

But she didn’t accept his answer.  “What’s wrong?” she pressed.

And again, Kieran’s heart jumped.  He’d lied to her, and she knew about it.  She could punish him severely for such a thing.

“I’m sorry, Domina,” he murmured.  “I think I’m just tired.”

She stared at him for a moment, studying him, then nodded, her expression making it clear that she knew he wasn’t telling the whole truth, but that she would accept his answer.

“Alright, love,” she said gently.  “Why don’t you go ahead and go on to bed.  Get some rest, alright?”

“Yes, Domina,” he replied, rising to his feet to obey her.  He couldn’t help but be relieved.  The idea of being alone, in his room, in a comfortable, warm bed, appealed to him.

He made his way into the hallway, then paused when he heard his name spoken in a tone they apparently didn’t think he could hear.  Without thinking, he pressed against the wall in the hallway, listening to his conversation.

“We’ve got to do something with him, Charis,” Ilya said.  “We can’t keep adopting strays.  We’re going to run out of room.”

Charis scoffed.  “This morning you were about to fly into a rage because of the way he was treated there.  Now you’re implying we shouldn’t have taken him?”

“No, that’s not what I’m saying,” Ilya told her.  “But we also have to acknowledge that we can’t save them all.  We just don’t have the room.”

“I’m happy to hear any alternative you may have.”

“Domina, what if you train him for the symposium?”

Kieran gasped at the voice that was neither Charis’ nor Ilya’s.  It was Cullen’s.  A slave, interjecting in an argument between his owners?  Gods, what was he thinking?

“Or you could sell him to Lord Alexandris,” Cullen continued.  Kieran didn’t miss the distinct lack of fear, or shouted reprimand.  “He’s looking for another pleasure slave, isn’t he?”

“He is,” Ilya answered in a tone that wasn’t the least bit hostile, not even the least bit annoyed that the slave had spoken out of turn.

“He always says how great the slaves at the symposium are.  I bet he’d pay a lot for him.”

“We don’t know how to train abused slaves for resale,” Ilya pointed out.

“You figured it out with me,” Cullen countered.  Kieran felt his heart leap into his throat.  Now he was actually arguing with his Dominus.  “Domina figured it out with Rowyn when she was just a teenager.  She could do it.  And you could sell him to Lord Alexandris.”

There was a brief pause.  “It’s not a hateful idea,” Charis relented.  “Galen’s been looking for awhile, now.  Kieran could be a good match for him.  But before we can even consider that, we need to focus on getting Kieran past the abuse.  No matter what happens, that has to come first.  I’m not going to allow him to be sold, even to someone like Galen, until he’s able to handle it.”

Kieran’s heart plummeted from his throat to his toes, and he felt as if the breath had been knocked out of him.

Sold?  They were talking about selling him?

But he’d only just gotten there!  He still didn’t even have a hope of getting his bearings yet, and they were going to sell him?

Cruelty hurts worse when you’ve known kindness, that bitter voice inside him said.

The room started spinning, and the walls started closing in on him.  He momentarily lost his balance and stumbled against the small end table beside him.

Silence came from the room, and in the hallway, the only sound Kieran could hear was the pounding of his heart.

A moment later, Cullen appeared in the hallway.  “Well, hi,” he said cheerfully.  “Come on in here.”

He didn’t give Kieran the chance to protest, instead taking him firmly by the arm and pulling him back into the room, where he saw Charis, Ilya, and Taber staring at him.

Oh gods, he had not only eavesdropped on a private conversation, but he’d disobeyed a direct order from his owner.  Now their kindness would surely stop, and the only one he could blame for it was himself.

Panic-stricken, he dropped to his knees, pressing his forehead to the floor, trembling and shaking.

An eternity seemed to pass, and then, he felt a hand on him.  Out of habit, he flinched violently, but the touch was gentle.  The voice that called his name was equally gentle, but that did nothing but frighten him more.

“Kieran?” Charis said softly.  “Look at me.”

Whimpering, Kieran forced his reluctant body to obey.  All he wanted to do was stay there, on the floor, in that position, and wait for the beating to start.  He didn’t want to look at her, he didn’t want to move, he didn’t want to see more of the kindness he didn’t deserve.

But his training overrode his reluctance, and he lifted his eyes to hers.  There was no anger in her face as she watched him.

“Why didn’t you do as you were told?” she asked quietly.

Her question, with that soft, gentle tone, with all the confusion of the last two days, finally pushed him to his breaking point.  Unable to keep her gaze, he collapsed again, abandoning the proper apology position and curling up in a fetal position on the floor.  He didn’t even bother trying to keep the sobs in.

But the gentle hand never left him, and never lost its gentleness.

“Come on, love,” she said softly.  “Stand up.  Let’s go to your room.”

So she can punish you, the bitter voice sneered.

But he’d already disobeyed her once.  Disobeying her a second time would make the punishment all the more terrible.  His body acted without conscious thought, fueled by the fear of what was coming and what would make it worse.

Numbly, he allowed her to lead him to his room.  Once inside, she closed the door and sat on the edge of the bed, pulling him to sit at her feet.

His heart was racing.  What was she going to do to him?  How was she going to hurt him?  Gods, what was she going to do?

Desperate to do anything he could to ease the pain he knew was coming, he nuzzled her knee, moving quickly up her thigh, hoping that if he could reach her before she stopped him, he could distract her from the punishment.

“No, Kieran,” she said softly, a firm hand on his head.

And panic seized him.  How was he supposed to enrich her life if she wouldn’t let him service her?  How was he supposed to prove himself to be valuable to her?

She was going to sell him, and he’d have to go through all of this, all over again.  He couldn’t handle it.  He didn’t know what she wanted from him, he didn’t know how to serve her, he didn’t know how to make her happy.

Slaves who failed at making their owners happy were cruelly, brutally, savagely beaten.  Or put down.

“Please, Domina,” he begged, clinging to her leg.  “Please, please.  I… I can’t…  Please, Domina, I need…”

“Shh,” she murmured caressing his face.  “It’s alright.  I’m not going to hurt you.  You’re safe.”

For a long few minutes, he did nothing but cling to her, his head in her lap, crying.  He didn’t bother trying to hide his feelings or regulate his emotions.  He didn’t bother trying to censor himself.  Somehow, he just couldn’t make himself care anymore.

For a long few minutes, she sat there, silently, gently caressing him, running her fingers through his hair.  She didn’t speak, she didn’t try to silence him, she didn’t discourage his sobbing.  She simply waited.  And when he had cried himself out, she pulled him up on the bed beside her.

“You’re scared, Kieran,” she said, taking his hand in hers.  “You’re terrified.”

It wasn’t a question, and he couldn’t deny it.  More than that, he didn’t want to deny it anymore.

“Yes, Domina,” he whispered, unable to meet her gaze.

“Why?”

Despite the fear, he laughed.  Why?

He had a million reasons to be afraid, and not one to calm his heart.

“You’ve gone through a lot of change in the last couple of days,” she said calmly.  “Change is frightening.  You’re not even used to us yet, and already we’re talking about selling you to someone else.  It’s scary, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“Come here, lie down with me.”

She leaned back, pulling him to lie down beside her.  Gently, she took him into her arms.

“I can’t imagine what it feels like to live through what you’re living through,” she murmured, kissing his forehead.  “I know it’s got to be hard to trust someone who owns you.  Who has that kind of power over you.  I can’t imagine what that must feel like.”

Sighing, he nuzzled closer to her, wanting to feel the intimacy she offered.  Wanting to feel closeness to someone without being afraid of what they’d do to him.

“You’re going to be alright,” she continued.  “I’m going to keep you safe.  I’m going to teach you how to let go of the fear.  You don’t have to live with it, Kieran.  You just have to be taught how to let it go.”

He closed his eyes, burrowing his face in her neck.  The warmth of her body was so comforting, so reassuring.  That bitter voice inside him was still screaming, shouting about how much more her cruelty would hurt after such gentle kindness, but he was just too tired to care.

Spending every waking moment trying to figure out his new owners was exhausting.

Within minutes, he was asleep.