This is a draft/test/idea that came to me in the shower. There are questionable things in it, but this is how it started so far.
This is the Kink Setting, by the by, not the Steam!Goats setting, this one tentatively called Inner Circle.
“Kneel, Taslin Altreka.”
It was not the first thing the man had said to her; it was merely the first important thing.
He had begun, as law and conscience dictated, with the standard disclaimers and explanations. “You understand that once you take a knee, it is not something you can take back? You will be committing to ten years, or to death, or until a member of the first circle calls you to service.”
Taslin had nodded. “I understand.” Other cities had less rings, and thus less years of service. But she had been born in New Indapala, and her family lived here.
“You understand that one out of five who take this route die in service?”
Again, she’d nodded. “I understand.”
“You understand that two out of three who do survive are maimed or crippled?”
“There are easier routes up the Ladder.”
Taslin had finally looked the man in the eye. “I have a little sister and a little brother.”
“Aah. Then we will continue.” And they had. “Kneel, Taslin Altreka.”
She took a knee, her head bowed. The man snipped the cord that had been around her neck since childhood, removing her ID chit. Her neck had felt empty without the light tug there.
That had lasted only a moment. Those who knelt did not wear their ID on a cord, but they wore it nonetheless.
The collar was the thinnest metal she had ever felt, jointed like mail. It moved with her, but at the same time, it pressed against her.
“Rise, Taslin Gladiator.”
Thoughts: I know how the names work, at least. That’s a whole post of its own.
Ten years seems ridiculous, but I wanted New Indapala (which is also a question, I need a name there, but I’m not sure how that one flows off the tongue) to be a large city, and thus a large number of rings.
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