The Dragon's Slave/C1 Chapter 1
+ Add to Library
The Dragon's Slave/C1 Chapter 1
+ Add to Library
The following content is only suitable for user over 18 years old. Please make sure your age meets the requirement.

C1 Chapter 1

Gayriel smoothed the soft rumple of silk at her waist. The dress, both revealing and flattering, fit with perfection. Blood red silk strained across the bodice and tumbled over her hips, lined with deep black lace, all chosen to accent her olive skin and thick waves of charcoal hair. And it did its job. Of course it did. Everything in the choosing house was about perfection. Perfection and service and obedience.

The other girls in her section, those deemed ready for sale, were prepared, as well. They chattered all morning, glad to be free of the regular maintenance of the day. Foolish creatures. They, too, were dressed with a strict eye to their unique aspects.

Five women. Something for every man's taste, they said. And it was choosing day.

Freedom, just beyond her grasp, and this time she would be able to act upon it.

The last three choosing days, the managers had lined her up with the other girls, like rows of chattel, but she had been passed over.

The situation flummoxed her and required a great deal of self-reflection. At last, she concluded that her indignation might have bled through her demeanor, which caused the buyers to pass her over for easier, passive slaves.

Today though, today would be different. She would choose a buyer: a soft, middle-aged man, with greedy eyes and a slow mind. For him, she would act the part, do whatever it took to be chosen. And then, once the buyer broke her free from the choosing house, she would make her escape.

The line of women stood in the entrance hall, a grand room decorated with gauze drapes, soft cushions, and dim, suggestive nooks. Every aspect of the presentation was perfect, a grand effort for show and profit.

The managers stood, half-hidden along the rich wooden walls, beneath fine tapestries and gold-plated wrought iron creations. One for each slave sold, a multitude of various talents, developed with the same ardor as their other skills.

Gayriel cringed. Her own artistic ability disappointed the managers. Her art, three years in the making, was likely hung in the back, behind a large curtain. No, it was certain that her other talents would be toted first, should a buyer express interest.

Still, she searched for her piece—a wreckage of metalwork in a vague semblance of the dragon guardians that protected the city. Very vague. Searching kept her heart beating a slow manageable rhythm. It also held her stomach in its place, instead of up in her throat where it kept trying to climb.

She would only have one chance, and that knowledge drove her nerves into a tangled mess.

A rattling groan, interspersed with hollow cracking, signaled the start of ceremony. Heavy wooden doors swung inward, the carved panels depicting a variety of carnal pleasures. Two girls guided them, dressed with intent, as well. These were younger, not quite ready for purchase. Temptation, should a buyer not find their perfect fit that day.

Light flowed across the polished stone floor, landing at Gayriel’s feet.

She blinked at the brightness, the sudden change in brilliance blinded her a moment. The rules dictated that she stand with her head lowered and eyes downcast anyway. Still, after a moment, she managed to peer upward through her thick lashes. One of these men would be both her potential master and enemy. She needed an indication of what she was dealing with.

A line of figures stepped inside, nothing but silhouettes at first. But their features sharpened as they moved deeper into the hall. The first three were middle-aged men, slightly soft with wealth and luxury, but neat and well kept. Each had several meek servants trailing them. They smiled at the managers, dressed in pristine white, who stepped out to greet them. One more followed, a younger lord. Servants trailed him as well, along with an aging man she guessed to be his adviser. She studied the young lord speculatively. He stood tall and straight, hardly sparing a glance to the gathering of servants. A haughty smirk graced his thin lips and a lustful gleam sparkled in his dark eyes as he looked over the line of girls.

He might do. He seemed young, no older than Gayriel herself, and inexperienced. She might trick him with general compliance until an opportunity to escape presented itself. But he would be eager, young as he was, to consummate, and that she was not keen upon.

“Greetings all,” head manager Fothmar announced, smiling congenially. He was a pale, gray-haired man, thin in a way that reminded one more of control than hardship...but perhaps she knew him too well. “We are proud to serve you here at the choosing house on this day. You have been selected according to your generous deposits. It is our wish that you are pleased with what you see today.”

“I should hope so. Three years to wait for my investment is a long time, Fothmar.” The man who spoke strode in front of the others. He was a broad man, with a firm waistline. One who did more than attend the social gatherings of the elite and drink away his life. No, this man took care of his figure. He had light blond hair that silvered at the temples. It was oiled and smoothed back from his face. Gray eyes flashed around the chamber, noting details. His attractiveness had carried well past his youth. The girls would be as eager to gain his attention as the younger lord. But he exuded arrogance, and Gayriel sensed an underlying temper, a desire for control. With him, escape would be difficult, if not impossible. And if the way his servants watched him indicated anything, an attempt at escape might also be deadly.

“Three years for perfection, Lord Hreth. You will find our girls better trained and higher quality than any other service in the city.”

Lord Hreth huffed, but waited for a wave from manager Fothmar to walk the line. His calculating gaze passed over every facet of each girl's appearance, as he might study a base market item, looking for the best bargain.

She looked away to hide her revulsion. No, he wouldn't do at all.

“Fothmar, it is a pleasure to do business with you once more.” The second man to greet manager Fothmar was one she recognized.

He had been present at the last choosing day, and had passed her by. Unfortunate, for she saw now that he might fit her purpose perfectly. He was heavier than Lord Hreth, but from the looks of his clothing, he was richer too. And he had a lazy air about him, like he had never worked in his life. And he probably hadn't. There was a possibility he might not even pursue her when he discovered her gone.

“Lord Bannath,” manager Fothmar nodded.

Her eyes flicked to the third middle aged man, waiting patiently behind. He held a similar air, but much quieter. Dark hair lined his scalp, chopped short, disguising the beginnings of a bald spot at his crown. Wispy eyebrows swung upward in a perpetual expression of surprise. His skin was pale, as though he spent most of his time indoors, at paperwork, perhaps. He looked more in need of an assistant than a bedroom slave.

Appearances could be deceiving though. She should know. From her meek and humble position, she watched and plotted. At last, she decided on Lord Bannath, or the bookish man. They were her best chances.

Unfortunately, Lord Hreth stopped before her, blocking her view of the others.

“Face up girl,” he commanded.

She obeyed, but ensured a slight hesitation. She did not wish Lord Hreth to find her pleasing. He noticed the defiance, she thought, a muscle jumped against his jaw and his eyes hardened.

It did not have the effect she intended. Instead of moving on, he lingered, circling her position. His eyes assessed her, almost a physical caress trailing over her skin. She shuddered, and a wave of disgusted anxiety ran through her. It was as if she stood naked before him, yet she wore more fabric that day than most of her existence in the choosing house.

“Show me your breasts,” he came up in front of her again. His nose crinkled, lifting his upper lip into a sneer.

Her heart thudded, a hollow sensation in her chest. She did not expect this, had never seen such a thing at a ceremony before. She raised her fingers to her bodice, obeying as she always must if she did not wish to face severe punishment.

“My lord,” a white dressed manager appeared from somewhere in the shadows. He waved a hand in a gesture of respect and apology. “We guarantee the perfection of form in each of the girls, but we do not allow such displays until they are paid for in full.”

Hreth grunted unhappily, but relief pool through Gayriel. Disobedience interested Hreth. She would not repeat that mistake. When he finally moved on, she nearly sagged with the heavy weight that went with him.

“Gentlemen,” Fothmar announced, clasping his hands together in a pleased manner. “The girls will be happy to‒”

He stopped suddenly, his voice rising in a strangled manner.

Gayriel looked up, unable to help herself. Three years at the choosing house and she had never once seen Fothmar flustered. The other girls remained with their heads bowed and eyes lowered, but she didn't care.

Stepping into the main hall was a man unlike any she had ever seen before. He stood with the proud dignity of the noble born, full of authority, but there was something about the way he moved. His stride was graceful, inhumanly so. His fit body stood out among the other men. Hells, his arms were at least twice the size of the younger nobleman's. He wore a fitted suit of all black, but not the clothes of the nobles, with frills and hanging decorations. His clothes looked functional...for war perhaps. Sheaths littered his body and from each the silver handle of some blade or another protruded.

He stopped, part way in the hall. Dark brows crashed together as he surveyed the scene before him. She noticed, with a breath of amazement, that his eyes were the most unusual color she had ever seen. Even from her distance, the bright amber was visible.

Dark stubble lined his jaw and his full lips drew her gaze, even with the frown he wore.

“,” manager Fothmar began.

“Firestriker.” The man did not look toward Fothmar at all, and his voice was as deep and masculine as she imagined. His eyes landed on the women, lined up like so much chattel. Gayriel found herself ashamed to be presented among them.

That would not do at all. She had no reason to impress this man. Indeed, he seemed even more alert...and dangerous than Hreth.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
Page with