Archive | March 3, 2012

Paying the Rent

For [personal profile] rix_scaedu‘s commissioned prompt for more of the Baram-and-his-house-elves story.

Baram and his family appear in:
Monster (LJ)
Memories (LJ)
One Sharp Mother (LJ)
The Life you Make (LJ)
Safe (LJ) and
Cost of Living (LJ)

Addergoole has a landing page here and on LJ

“We’re taking a road trip,” Jaelie told her nervous Kept. “Pack enough clothes for a three-day stay, and then shower and clean yourself up. Trim anything that needs trimming, and make sure you’re well-scrubbed.”

He blanched, and nodded. She grabbed his arm, and clarified, “Clean, that’s all, don’t scrub yourself raw, Wish. I just want you to smell nice.”

“Yes, Mistress.” He didn’t look any less nervous, either heading into the shower or when he returned, half an hour later, so clean he nearly sparkled. It made Jaelie smile in exasperation at him.

“I know you’re not a virgin,” she teased him.

He flushed in return. “Of course not. But there’s a difference between… ah… my life before and serving you, and there’s a much wider difference between that and being hired out.”

She patted his shoulder. “Your job isn’t to please them, it’s just to get them pregnant. We – well, I – get paid by the baby, not by the orgasm.”

That only made him flush deeper. “And what if I don’t? I haven’t had children in… well, that I know about, several centuries.”

“Then we’ll come up with something else. Or test-tube it. Magic can solve almost anything, don’tchaknow?”

He nodded, relaxing a little, and picked up his bag. “Yes, Mistress. This – this woman, she directed the school you all attended?”

“And coordinated our births and, in a matter of speaking, the births of all of our children. Yes. She seems thrilled to have your blood to add to the mix.”

“And this is the school that taught you how to give orders to your Kept?”

“Yes, it is,” she confirmed.

“It seems like an interesting place, to have produced three women as tough and as sharp as you and your, ah, sister-wives?”

She barked out a laugh. “Sister-wives, that’s a new one!

“I hope you don’t mind?”

“No, but you might not want to try that on the others.” She led him out to her car and tossed their bags in the trunk. “Addergoole is… yes, a very interesting place. A crucible of sorts.”

“And the children that this Regine wants me to father, they would be attending this school? And raised by… well, by their mothers, I would assume?”

“If one of the mothers doesn’t want the kid – that happens sometimes – then I might ask for custody. We could handle another kid around the place, and mine are old enough to not need constant attention anymore.”

He studied her in surprise as they got in the car. “You’d raise my child?”

“You’re mine, aren’t you? That means taking care of you where you come from too, doesn’t it?”

“Well, yes, in a manner of speaking…” He shook his head. “So I’m to father children for this school. For her breeding program.”

“You sound unhappy about that.” She started the car anyway, and headed out onto the highway. The roads were still mostly clear; after Wish’s people’s first attack had been so clearly rebuffed, many of the monsters had chosen to go elsewhere.

“It’s an interesting thought, to be used as a stud horse, as an aeosthena. I suppose it hammers home how far down I’ve fallen.”

“Careful with that,” she warned him. “Your sense of superiority is going to get you in trouble.”

“Apologies, Mistress.” He shoulders slumped, and he slouched in his seat, looking disconsolate. Jaelie let him sulk for a while, while she drove, and thought about feeding more children into Regine’s grinder.

After a long while, she reached over and set a hand on Wish’s thigh. “We raise our kids good,” she told him, “tough. They won’t be in the position we were, Aly and Viatrix and I, when we went there.”

“And the children I father?” he asked quietly. “They Belong to their mother, of course. But I’ve never fathered a child before, without the mother Belonging to me.”

“Aaah.” She patted his thigh. It didn’t seem kind or useful to point out that that was what he got for trying to kill her family, so she didn’t. “I’m sure you’ll father some very tough children, Wish.”

“Thank you.” He smiled uncomfortably back at her, and then tensed unhappily as they reached the wards around Addergoole. “What the…”

She braced herself. She’d been through this before. “Sit, sit. Don’t move. Close your eyes, it helps.”

He keened deep in the back of his throat, struggling against the order as she drove them, white-knuckled, through the thick defensive wards. She’d never seen it hit anyone this hard, and wondered if it was his returned-gods-ness, his purebloodedness, or his age. “It’s okay,” she croaked. “Wish, it’s okay, I’ve got you. Almost, almost… there.” She relaxed, and felt him do so as well, as they passed the wards. “You can move now.”

“That…” he panted. “That was horrible.”

“And we’re expected. It’s pretty effective, I’ve been told, at keeping out intruders.”

“I can imagine!” He shook his head. “Well, at the very least the school is well-protected.”

“Yeah.” She fell quiet again as she drove the last half a mile. “Wish… can you do this without, without your partners knowing that it’s under duress?”

That got her a crooked, dry smile. “Are you telling me that nobody has ever ordered you to act like you’re happy?”

She winced. “Nobody’s ever whored me out,” she countered, getting a matching wince from him.

“All things considered, I’d rather this than being sold, and rather either than being dead.” He patted her thigh gently. “Mistress, this is not horrible. I’m worried, yes, but, ah, much as I hate to admit it, I’m mostly worried that I’ll let you down somehow.” He winced again, harder this time. “And there you see how far I’ve fallen.”

It didn’t seem fair to scold him for that, so she didn’t. She smiled, instead, and squeezed his hand. “You’re going to to do just fine, Wish. I know you are.” She looked over the Village, trying not to tense up at old memories. “I have faith in you.”

Next: (Paying, Forward)

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Success, a continuation of Tir na Cali for the Feb. Giraffe Call.

For moon_fox‘s prompt, after
Second Pressing (LJ)
Planting Future (LJ)

Tir Na Cali has a landing page here.

The end of this didn’t really seem to end for me, but I’m not sure what else to do with it, either

“Fruity, with just a hint of tar.”

Onyx enjoyed the blind taste testings at the smaller competitions the best. She could put on her best part-of-the-furniture expression and simply listen while people talked over her. If her Lord was in the room, of course, people watched their words, minded their descriptions, even around a minor lord like her master.

But when they were facing simply a row of slave vintners, the tasters felt no such need to be careful, mindful, or even polite. And the things one learned when people who had been tasting wine all day stopped being polite were… interesting. Often educational.

“Isn’t this in the fruit wine category?” one younger taster frowned. “I can’t taste anything but oak and ashes.”

“Ah,” an older matron answered, smirking and reaching for the boy’s glass. “I bet I know who that is. They have the same problem every year.”

Onyx didn’t smile, of course, but inwardly, she was giggling. She knew that one, too. Their vintner, a freed slave, was an arrogant punk who never took advice. Next to her, his assistant was trying not to squirm. Maybe she should talk to her Lord about buying the poor girl; she had a good feel for the wine and didn’t deserve her boss.

“Ah!” That was the third taster, sipping the purple wine that was Onyx’s offering from her master’s odd fruit. “This is… interesting.”

It was her turn to try not to squirm. Interesting could mean so many things.

“Interesting,” the woman repeated. “Sweet, with a nice oaky note and… boysenberry, I think. Nice.” She looked up at the three of them waiting, three very nervous slaves whose livelihood depended on her words. She couldn’t know which of them had worked on this wine, but her eyes landed on Onyx anyway. “Nice. Very nice.”

Onyx relaxed, her head bowed to hider her smile, as the others tasted her offering. “Cocoa nibs,” the boy exclaimed, smiling, and, “…campfire?” the older woman exclaimed. As she had expected, the color, and the strange fruit, brought out what they expected to taste: success at last.

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