Her reverie was broken by sudden noise, and she looked up as alarm coursed the length of her nerves and she shouted silent curses at herself. She hadn’t been paying attention, hadn’t been watching her new Master, hadn’t…
Her self-berating stopped with as abrupt a transition as the panic had inspired.
Aithne had lived most of her life at sea and, when outdoors, could tell the time of day or night in an instant, even when clouds obscured the sky. But there were no windows in this room, at least that she could see from her vantage, so there was no way to know how much time had passed. Yet somehow everyone in the room had, as one, come to the conclusion that it was time to leave. People were standing, stretching, closing books and scrolls. Some talked, though even here at the apparent end of the library day, the voices never rose above a murmur. Not a few looked in her direction and, while most eyes moved on after curiosity was satisfied, some remained for several seconds. She pretended not to notice, but her skin crawled until those eyes turned away.
Her new Master seemed oblivious to her discomfort (as well he should). The orc waited until the room was empty, placed a scroll in a cubby of his desk, then grunted as he stood and stretched before turning and walking to his right. He didn’t acknowledge Aithne’s presence, but if there was anything she knew, it was how to follow the instructions of an impassive orc – she followed as he moved down the bookshelf-lined hallway and through a doorway into what looked like a bedroom. He didn’t seem to realize she was there until he tried to close the door just as she was stepping through it.
“Oh! Pardon, I…wait. What are you doing?”
Aithne stopped where she was and went back to her waiting pose - she knew better than to respond verbally. Her Master seemed taken aback by her response, however. He stared at her for a time while she waited, then he grunted, shook his head, turned, and entered the room with Aithne behind.
It was, indeed, a bedroom, although that only encompassed a portion of the suite – a doorway to the right led to other rooms beyond. Had she been asked to describe the décor, the words “sparse,” “simple,” or “plain” might have come to mind. Directly ahead, a large but simple desk with a single chair sat under a window that showed glimpses of distant stars, and a well-made but simple bureau stood against the wall to her right. The wall to the left was dominated by the only extravagance in the room – an enormous four-poster bed with thick, quilted bedding and what looked to be silk sheets. Her opposed selves shivered in unison at the thought of sharing it with her Master; one out of fear and revulsion, one out of lust and longing. The combination made her feel vaguely ill. Or maybe that was the baby. You were supposed to feel sick when you were pregnant, weren’t…
Her Master grunted, pulling her attention back to him as he looked around in what Aithne could only describe as aggravation, then grabbed a thick blanket and a pillow off the massive bed and tossed them on the floor next to the table. “You can sleep there. I guess. I’ll…get something for us to eat.”
He turned back toward the door but when Aithne moved to follow, he held up a hand. “No. Stay here. This is going to be difficult enough as it is. I’ll be right back.”
Aithne didn’t nod or acknowledge the command – no response was necessary, of course, because it was assumed she would obey – and he studied her for a brief second before turning back to the door, looking back once as if to make sure she hadn’t followed.
Having had no other direction, Aithne waited in place. She wished she had been facing toward the window when her Master left but resigned herself to looking at the wall and the door. It had been nice to stand instead of kneel, but after however many hours on her feet, kneeling would have been a relief.
This was not going how she had envisioned it. Borkul wouldn’t have left her here alone. Or given her a blanket and pillow. Or, she realized with growing confusion, gone to get food himself. What in Tamriel was...
The door banged open, eliciting an inadvertent jump and yelp from Aithne, as her Master walked in bearing a tray of food. He frowned at her.
“Why are you…” He stopped and shook his head. “Never mind. I brought food. We’ll eat then figure out what to do with you.”
Aithne reached for the food – it was her place to serve him, after all - but her Master had already started walking again, carrying the tray around her and through the doorway into the next room, leaving Aithne standing with arms akimbo. She blinked as she lowered them, then followed.
The side room held a small table with three wooden chairs. Her master set the food on the table and sat, motioning toward one of the other chairs. Aithne paused, uncertain, until he said in an impatient tone, “Sit down. Eat something.”
Seeing no choice against a direct command from her Master, Aithne sat, then reached for the food and began to set it on her Master’s plate.
He grunted, again sounding impatient, as he blocked her hands. She swiftly set the food back on the tray and retracted her hands to her lap. “I can get my own food. You eat yours.”
It was an unprecedented statement, one that she dared not take at face value. Surely he could not mean what she had thought she had heard? But he grabbed some bread and a piece of cheese, cut them into slices, and began to eat them, and she was left with no choice but to believe her own ears. She reached out once again, though this time with a hesitant hand, ready to snatch it back at the slightest indication she was doing something wrong, but he opened a small book and read as he chewed, ignoring her fingers as they curled around an apple and eased it to herself. She took a bite, all the time watching him as confusion joined the already-crowded bevy of emotions her new master brought up in her. He seemed not to notice her discomfort. Or her at all, for that matter.
After some time of eating and reading, during which Aithne managed to sneak a small bit of cheese (it felt like sneaking, at any rate), he closed the book and stood. Aithne immediately stood with him. He gave her a frown then shook his head and went back into the bedroom. The familiar twin pangs of lust and hatred rose as she followed.
Dinner had been a little strange, but she was certain she knew what he wanted from her now. He pulled off his robe as he neared the bed, hanging it with a haphazard toss on a hook near the door. He wore silk underthings below, which was a bit of surprise, but certainly not something she couldn’t deal with. She reached out to tug at his drawers.
“Hey!” Her Master wheeled around as his hands clamped down on his shorts. His cock had begun to rise and he quickly yanked a blanket around his hips. “What are you doing?”
Aithne frowned as tears of frustration sprang to her eyes. She had been certain she knew what he would want this time! Borkul would have beat her if she hadn’t had his cock in her mouth by this point after a meal. She knelt, shaking, waiting for her beating, wailing in her own head at her own incompetence. She wanted to serve her new Master but she just didn’t know how.
He let out an aggravated sounding sigh. “Colette, I’m going to kill you for this. Just…go over there and sleep. Will you?”
Aithne glanced up just enough to see that he was pointing at the blanket and pillow he had tossed onto the floor earlier. She hesitated as long as she dared, once again certain that what she was hearing could not be what was meant, but when he said nothing else, she turned and crawled to the indicated spot. She glanced back as she reached it in time to see him climb into the bed. Having, once again, no option but to obey, even though every instinct screamed that it wasn’t what she was supposed to be doing, she wrapped herself in the softest, warmest blanket she had every touched and laid her head on the pluffiest pillow her head had ever known, and spent a miserable night utterly failing to sleep.
Edited by jfraser