The woman who bought Saffron had sat behind a screen for the questioning and auction process. She had insisted Saffron be blindfolded once purchased and bound, wrists to thighs, so there was no chance of messing with the blindfold as she led Saffron by the arm to her home.
Thus, Saffron had very little to go on. Her voice was smooth and sweet, her laughter easy and not so unkind as some. Her diction was easy to understand, her words simple, not the convoluted mess many inner circle people spoke. And she lived close enough to the auction center to walk home, which meant she was either in the Second circle or very close of the walls in either First or Third.
Most importantly, she owned Saffron now. She’d bought the contract, and for the next ten years, Saffron would be her Servitor, to do whatever she wished, whatever she commanded.
“Stairs,” she murmured. They were the first words she’d spoken since leaving the auction hall. Saffron let a shin hit the first stair and climbed up carefully, trying not to lean on the woman. “Just a couple more. There.”
Was she going to leave the blindfold on forever? The inner circles had some odd habits, Saffron had heard. The Flow changed them, the way it changed everyone, but some people said that the Inner circles were more twisted, far further from normal than the outer circles. Was she afraid he would freak out? Afraid he couldn’t handle her? It was far too late for any of that now.
“And here. And a few steps.” She steered Saffron down a hallway, or what could be assumed to be a hallway at least. A door opened. “Here, sit.”
Saffron sat. There was a chair there, soft and cozy. From the sounds of things, the woman sat as well.
“Saffron Techon. Normally by the time people get to four syllables, they’ve picked a gender for at least one of them.”
Saffron coughed. “Hadn’t decided yet.”
“Well, I suppose that’s a sort of decision in itself. Tell me, Saffron, why did you decide to become a Servus?”
Saffron’s gesture was cut short by the chains. “Like this, I wouldn’t survive long out on the Tenth Circle. Too skinny, too weak.”
“Mmm.” Her tone of voice suggested she agreed with that assessment. “And do you think, then, that the Second Circle will be that much safer for you?” There was danger in her voice that hadn’t been there before.
The blindfold was suddenly a shield, suddenly all that stood between Saffron and terror. A swallow did nothing to clear the lump in Saffron’s throat. “Ma’am?”
If only running was an option.
The Circled Plain has a landing page here
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