In today’s installment, our plucky protagonist and her slave get names!
“I should hope he does. I don’t act with the intent of being forgotten.”
I chewed on my lip, and then, immediately, stopped myself. That was a girl’s habit, a childish trait. He’d helped me break myself of it – why was it coming up now? I could see in her eyes that she’d noticed, however, and judged me for it.
“You are, I’d agree, quite unforgettable.” The audacious words were out of my mouth; again, my voice was working without having asked my common sense what I should do. That wasn’t her power, was it? I struggled to recall, and couldn’t. If so, what a masterful use!
But she was smiling. “You have some spark in you, don’t you? I like that.” She gestured, cutting off my objection: she’d snuffed the spark out of him long before she’d discarded him. “Slaves are slaves. A woman who will be ruling part of my territory, that’s a different matter. Do you think we can get along, Treanna?”
“I believe we can work together, your Ladyship.” There, now my brain and my vocal chords were working together. “I believe I can serve very well under you.” Wait, what? Was I flirting with my liege lady? I hated her! I didn’t want to flirt with her!
But her smile was growing. “I believe you would. However, as you’ve noted, when someone serves under me, there is rather less of them to enjoy when I am done. That’s why I sold him, you know.”
“I’m sorry?” I blinked, trying to change gears. What was she doing to me, this Ice Queen? “You sold Michael because…”
“There is a length of time one can serve under me. I kept him longer than I’d intended; he serves so beautifully, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, and he is, himself, so flawless.”
Except the brand. But for her, that, too, could have been part of his perfection. “He is a beautiful man, and a wonderful servant,” I agreed, perhaps more warmly than I should have – but I was in love with him, so painfully so. “But he will not love me.”
“Not will not,” she sighed. “Cannot. I had hoped that, with enough time away, he might recover, but I’m not sure he will. Will he let you remove the brand?”
It should have been illegal, but he might have consented. Probably had consented. And would not consent to me having it smoothed from his skin. “No, your Ladyship.”
She sighed again, deeper. “Well, then, sadly, there is our answer. He doesn’t fail to love you, Treanna, because you are not a beautiful young lady – although you are very young – but because he cannot stop loving me.”
“Can’t you stop it?” I almost wailed. Later, I’d remember this with mortification and humiliation, but being around the Ice Queen opened all of your stops, eliminated all of your self-control. “Can’t you make him love me?”
She shook her head slowly, looking almost sympathetic. I hadn’t thought she had an emotion like sympathy in her. “No. No, I cannot. But I can tell you this. In a year, you will look at him, and you will know that, as much as you love him, you can’t keep him anymore. You can’t look at that face, that face that knows all of your youthful silliness, any longer.” She held up a hand. “I know this, Treanna, because, believe it or not, I was nineteen once, myself. And when this happens… come to me again, and we will talk.” She sipped her tea, her eyes smirking at me. “I’ll enjoy it.”
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/239537.html. You can comment here or there.