The Dragon's Slave/C5 Chapter 5
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The Dragon's Slave/C5 Chapter 5
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C5 Chapter 5

Gayriel breathed through a rise of chagrin, the edges of emotion rising from the stares that followed her. She kept her head lowered as she walked, focused on the heels of the guard in front of her.

What was so interesting? Surely they had seen women before?

She paused for a moment. Actually, she hadn’t seen a single woman since leaving the choosing house. No, it was impossible. They must have mothers, at least. But where did they hide them all?

A shadow fell over her. She glanced up to find herself surrounded by white brick once more. They had entered the second building and turned into a narrow passage.

Carved lattice along the right cast delicate shadows on the wall. It opened to the courtyard once more. Heavy ladened fruit trees marred the view, wide branches rising to embrace the sun, some even poking through the lattice holes.

She peeked through an opening between plants. The men had sparred their way closer. Their speed and grace were mesmerizing...and inhuman. No matter how she trained, she could never be that fast, or accurate. She gasped, pressing herself against the wall to see past the branches of a lemon tree. The tip of the blond's blade had come impossibly close to the darker man’s groin.

“Careful Cillumn, or I will unman you before your beast can check if she is his.”

The one called Cillumn danced backward, his wings twisting gracefully. Dark markings covered his torso, and they shifted with the movement. It was a hypnotic sight.

Having escaped the blade, he lunged for the blond.

“Not likely,” he grunted. “First, you would have to score a point.”

The blades met between their chests, as the blond blocked; a flash of sparks flew from the collision.

“And second, the dragon is ridiculously picky.”

Dragon? So they did exist here.

“You haven’t given her a chance. I, for one, like to fuck my women several times before I give up on the beast. Just to be certain.”

Cillumn snorted. “Yes, the whole aerie is aware of that. Do you ever take your women to the privacy of your chamber?”

“That would be boring.”

“My friend,” Cillumn dropped his blade and stepped back. “You are a twisted beast yourself. I am surprised your dragon is so golden.”

“You aren’t the only one,” the blond grinned, passing behind a branch with fat clusters of yellow fruit.

“Hmm,” Cillumn continued. “I admit, I am curious, how did you get that red-haired beauty to agree to the parapet? You had her dangling from...”

“Woman,” a deep voice growled. Really growled.

Gayriel leapt back and blinked at her guard.

“Do not test my patience with this task. Escorting women is a poor use of my skill, but you will not like where my talent truly lies.”

A bitter note entered his words, she read it easily. She was a burden to him, a distasteful duty.

“Forgive me,” she murmured, hoping a report of her flaws didn’t make it back to Firestriker.

“No more delays,” he turned and continued on his path.

She followed him from the lattice walkway and into another. The pattern in the new corridor resembled that of her confinement, except, here, the scale was much larger. The hall spread a longer distance, only four doors spread alternately along the sides.

The guard stopped before the last door on the right.

It was not locked, or even closed. He knocked anyway. The dark wood swung inward, revealing a beautifully decorated space. Two benches with blue plush cushions faced one another, centered over a richly detailed rug. The walls hung with paintings of colorful birds interspersed with more potted plants. A delicious scent wafted out toward them, some sort of baking, warm and inviting.

Who summoned her? Not Firestriker. The guard had mentioned a name, and it wasn’t his. Tharissa?

“Bring her in Scet,” a soft, decidedly feminine voice called.

The guard—Scet—motioned her inward to the space. She stepped past him, unsure how he would respond to being ordered about by a woman. His stiff demeanor might have been impossible to read had it not been for his outburst earlier.

On entrance, she noted that this well-kept chamber was not on its own. It was, instead, a sitting room, or parlor. Arches led away from it, suggesting a complete living space. The warmth of the sun filtered in, even though the walls held no windows; the source of which she pondered for a moment—how did sun shine down into the lower level of a building? – before tracing it to circular vents in the ceiling.

“Come and sit,” a woman appeared through one of the arches.

Gayriel stared. The woman was older than her by a good ten years, but that didn’t detract from her beauty. She glowed with health, her tanned skin clean and soft. A genuine smile lit her face, highlighting high cheekbones and a set of startling green eyes. Chestnut curls were pulled back from her face. It added the illusion that her eyes were her biggest, and most striking feature.

She wore a simple violet gown, the neck low enough to showcase her ample breasts, but high enough to still be practical. Even the skirts were practical, hanging strait to her calves. Unlike Gayriel's own, that flounced to the ground and dragged behind as she walked.

The woman carried a tray with some form of dark bread in one hand, in the other, a platter of cheeses and two cups of liquid. She bent gently, as she neared, and set her burdens on the stone table between the two benches.

“Sit,” she insisted, so Gayriel made her way to the nearest bench. “Scet would you please wait outside?”

Scet grunted, but did not answer, and then the door closed.

“I am Tharissa,” the woman grinned, sitting opposite her.

“Gayriel,” she nodded, growing wary. Why had this woman summoned her? Who was she?

Tharissa must belong to Firestriker, as well, to summon her. But in what capacity? She was most definitely beautiful enough to be a sex slave, yet her clothes and demeanor suggested otherwise. His wife perhaps? But then why so friendly? At the least, a slave should be tolerated and ignored, not...talked to.

“It is always exciting when a new woman arrives. If you haven’t noticed, there is an abundance of men in the aerie. It makes one feel safe and secure, naturally, but it gets a little tiring.”

Gayriel nodded politely. Tharissa paused, considering her.

“Please don’t take offense, but I am surprised it was Dynarys that brought you here. You must have done something impressive to catch his attention, he’s normally so...reticent.”


“Er...” she frowned. “Have I heard wrong? The gossip is that Lord Dynarys Firestriker brought you to the aerie. We thought he quickly hid you away for himself.”

Ah, his given name. Dynarys. Hmmm, she struggled to think of him as anything other than Firestriker. Suddenly, things made more sense. Tharissa spoke as though Firestriker was not her consort at all; as though she only wished to welcome another woman to the aerie.

Gayriel shifted, uncomfortable with the idea. Tharissa didn’t know what she was: a mere slave, and a bedroom slave, at that. That would explain the welcome, she supposed. What should she say? Firestriker...Dynarys might not wish others to know she was purchased. Fothmar drilled them over and over that, in all instances, they must look to their master for direction. But Firestriker was not there to give it. Tharissa sat watching her expectantly.

“I did arrive with Lord Firestriker,” she confirmed. If Tharissa wished to believe her more than she was, she supposed she must let her, for now. With all luck, before the woman discovered her deception, Gayriel would be long gone; on her way to the southern kingdom, and freedom.

A thought occurred to her. If Tharissa believed she was here of her own will, perhaps she might give some information, such as which exit routes were the most used, something that might aid her dilemma.

“He is mysterious and dark, that one. I wasn’t sure his dragon could mate. It frightened me that it might eat anyone who tried.”


Her look must have given away her confusion.

“You haven’t seen the dragon yet, then,” she sighed, leaning back. Her lips tugged downward, a hint of disappointment in her face.

“Should I have?”

“If you were his mate. Strange he has never taken a lover for himself before either, or at least he hasn’t brought one here.”

Well, that cleared everything up...

What in the six realms was the woman talking about? Her words made no sense.

Tharissa rubbed at her temples. “Here I thought we could commiserate on our lives as a dragon mate, and he hasn’t even told you what he is.” She muttered something under her breath that sounded particularly vicious.

Gayriel glanced at the door, Scet still waited out there, probably. She wondered if he listened to their conversation. Nervous as the man made her, part of her hoped that he did, that he might burst in and save her from the situation.

“Gayriel, you must think I am mad.”

The idea had most definitely crossed her mind. She even gave up questioning the woman for information relating to escape. How much good could her nonsense do?

“And now I’m the one left embarrassed. Next time I see Dynarys, I’m going to have a few things to say.” She lifted the mug in front of her and pressed it into Gayriel's hands.

Gayriel accepted, not knowing what else to do, but did not drink.

“You might have noticed the men around here are...different.”

Gayriel pictured the courtyard. Men with wings. Different was an understatement.

“This is an aerie, the home of the dragons. Or, Dragon Lords is probably more accurate. Most of the men here are Dragon Lords, though quite a few are Shifters as well.”

“They control dragons?” She knew Firestriker had something to do with the beasts.

“They are dragons, sweetheart. Or partly anyway. It is a symbiotic relationship. I still haven’t come to understand it, despite being mated to one for almost eight years.”

Gayriel scowled into her drink, attempting to make sense of everything. Men who were not just manipulators of beasts, but symbionts with them? How would that work? Were some of their parts human and others...not? And which ones?

The men in the courtyard were dragons, then...or Dragon Lords. It made sense because they, at least, had wings. Yet, Firestriker had no such thing.

“I’m not sure I understand at all,” she admitted.

“I guess it is like two bodies and minds that share a soul. Sometimes they are beast and sometimes man; sometimes they are part of both.”


She was doomed to slavery forever. Not even a human fortress, a dragon aerie, and a Dragon Lord, himself, as master.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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